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Hiking in Palm Springs: Rainbow Rock Canyon at Whitewater Preserve

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When you’ve hiked all the trails on the map at Whitewater Preserve, it’s time for something new and beautiful – Rainbow Rock Canyon.

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Rainbow Rock Canyon gets its name from the multi-colored rocks in the canyon. Check out my slideshow to see the incredible rocks.However, you have to pay attention to spot the rocks, especially on a bring sunny day. If you're not looking for the rocks, you may miss them.

Not only does Rainbow Rock Canyon have fabulous colored rocks, it also has a waterfall. Actually, it looked like a series of waterfalls. From the bottom, I saw at least two drops, but there may be more. It was too slick for me to climb up the first drop.

The hike to the canyon and to the falls and back is about 7.1 miles roundtrip with about 1,000 feet of elevation gain.

The question now is how to get there.

First, you should know the trail does not have signs, at least as of December 2013.

Second, it's not listed on the preserve's map.

So how do you get there? I read lots of articles and postings about the hike and I figured it out by reading one simple sentence -- it's off the Pacific Crest Trail on the way to Red Dome.

If you know the preserve, that sentence will tell you where the canyon is.

If you don't find the trail, don't go. You're not in the right spot. There's a nice trail the whole way there. If you're hiking off-trail, you're in the wrong place.

However, before you go hiking off on your own, the best way to find the canyon is to join one of the Coachella Valley's hiking clubs. They helped build the trail, so go with them to explore this wonderful place. Or you can email me and convince me to share more specific directions.

Details: The hike to the falls and back is about 7.1 miles roundtrip with about 1,000 feet of elevation gain.

Note: Again, I highly recommend joining one of the local hiking clubs for your first adventure to Rainbow Rock Canyon. This is not a place you want to get lost since it is off the beaten path and there is no cell service.

Read about the other hikes at Whitewater Preserve here. Find more than 25+ other great hikes in Coachella Valley here.

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