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Palm Desert
Palm Springs



Palm Desert - Coachella Valley & Sand Dunes, California



Palm Desert, CaliforniaA few miles from the Palm Desert golf courses, swimming pools, shopping malls and casinos is a stark beauty in an ecosystem that's part of the Coachella Valley Preserve, a 20,000-acre sanctuary for rare wildlife. It's no wonder that artists such as Timothy Wolcott, whose work is shown above, are attracted to this desert wonderland. In fact, Palm Desert was the first city in Riverside County to establish a public art program, hoping to create  artistic harmony between the buildings, land and open spaces.


Palm Desert is nestled in the Coachella Valley against the foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains. This Riverside County city is 11 miles east of Palm Springs.

Named Palm Village in the 1920s for the date palm trees that grow so abundantly, the Palm Desert Corporation came to town and created such a housing boom, it was not longer a village, but a thriving city. While named Palm Desert in 1951, it did not officially incorporate as a city until 1973. 


El Paseo shopping district similar to Rodeo Drive

There are approximately 20 golf clubs in Palm Desert alone! Public golf courses feature a variety of challenges, with one of the media and golf professionals' favorites being Desert Willow Resort. Golf Digest named Desert Willow's Firecliff course one of the "Places To Play." One of only three courses in California and one of the best 50 in the United Sates to receive this distinction, Firecliff measures 7,056 yards, includes over 100 bunkers and numerous water features.


Desert Willow Golf Resort 38995 Desert Willow Drive
Palm Desert 760-346-7060 Public
Emerald Desert Country Club 76-000 Frank Sinatra Dr
Palm Desert 760-345-4770 Public
The Golf Center at Palm Desert 74-945 Sheryl Dr
Palm Desert 760-779-1877 Public
Marriott's Desert Springs Resort & Spa 74-855 Country Club Dr
Palm Desert 760-341-1756 Resort/Public
Marriott's Shadow Ridge 9002 Shadow Ridge Road
Palm Desert 760-674-2700 Public 
Palm Desert Resort Country Club 77-333 Country Club
Palm Desert 760-345-2791 Resort/Public

Palm Desert is the home of the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, a combination zoo and botanical garden featuring an extensive collection of desert plants and animals. It is also the site of the campus of College of the Desert, the local community college, as well as an extension campus of California State University, San Bernardino. Its main High School is Palm Desert High School

As the home of the pioneering band Kyuss and its successor group Queens of the Stone Age, Palm Desert is considered one of the cradles of the stoner rock movement.

Points of interest
Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
El Paseo

Coachella Valley Preserve
For thousands of years, particles of sand from the San Bernardino Mountains and Indio Hills washed into the Coachella Valley, forming a system of dunes. Today,  The Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard depends on this unusual blowsand desert for survival, and "swims" through the sand to escape predators or summer heat of the desert surface. Four other unique wildlife species can also be found here: the Coachella roundtailed ground squirrel, the giant red velvet mite, the flat-tailed horned lizard and the giant palm-boring beetle.

The Coachella Valley Preserve also contains several palm oases, formed because San Andreas Fault lines allow water flowing underground to rise to the surface. The spectacular Thousand Palms Oasis includes a mile-long trail past pools containing endangered desert pupfish. Native vegetation includes creosote bush, burrobush, smoke tree and desert lavender, part of this area's unique habitat for wildlife.

Animals you may see here

Birds: More than 183 bird species have been recorded here, including Gambel's quail, black-throated sparrows, phainopeplas, black-tailed gnatcatchers and American bitterns. Cactus wrens nest among the chollas. Year-round, visitors can view songbirds, upland birds and birds of prey. Spring and fall are good times to view songbirds.
Other animals include black-tailed jackrabbits, bobcats, and sidewinders. Reptiles may be seen in the summer. Spring through fall for fish is the best time to look for fish in the pools.

Viewing tips for this area

This area is very hot during the summer - be prepared.
The Preserve includes a visitor's center and equestrian trails.
The Preserve is open seven days a week.
Be sure to see tips for "Ultimate Wildlife Watching."
How to get here

Take Interstate 10 to the Ramon Road exit (about 10 miles east of Palm Springs). Drive east to Thousand Palms Canyon Drive. Turn north and drive about two miles to the entrance.

Size: about 20,000 acres.