If you’re looking for a nice, quick hike with a killer view in Palm Desert, well the Cross Hike is for you! Here’s five things to know about it.

Why is it called the cross hike?

There is a giant cross at the end of it that you can see from miles away. The cross even lights up at night making it a well lit marker to guide snowbirds who live in the area back home after a night out at The Nest.

How long and tough is the hike?

It’s a 2.6 mile round tripper with an elevation gain of 643 feet, according to All Trails. There’s a long, wide road to start that lead you to a seating area and drinking fountain (!)  with a nice view, from there you head up to the cross on a narrower trail. It’s a little more strenuous for the first half then the second half of the the hike up the mountain. Coming back is all downhill.

Cross Hike Trail in Palm Desert, California

There is a fork in the trail on your way up.  Use your logic to go the right way  (hint: it’s the path that you can clearly see leads you to the cross).  Also, like any hike in the desert, dress appropriately, wear good shoes or hiking boots (no flip flips, tourists!), and bring enough water.

Where is it?

You can find the trailhead at Ralph Adams / Cap Homme Park (named after Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme’s grandfather). You can see the spot on the map below.  When you get there, you will normally find plenty of parking spaces.

I supposed you could also get crazy and hike to it from the back of Target in Palm Desert (Bump and Grind Trailhead) or take the super-long way and take the Art Smith trail to it from the southern most part of Palm Desert across from the Visitor’s Center on Highway 74 – but maybe it’s best to just work up to that, yeah?

The cross is so big, I can’t take a good picture when I get to it!

Ahhh, yes.  This is where pano (panorama) mode comes in.  Switch your phone to that, ask a friendly hiker to take your pic, then have them pan the phone up.  Boom!  You get your pic!   Oh and while you’re next to the cross, be sure to sign the guest book – but don’t read other people’s messages.  That’s just being a dick.

Cross Hike Trail in Palm Desert, California
There’s a book to sign in there.

When’s the best time to go?

Sunrise and sunset will give you the best views – but, as long as the weather is good, anytime will work.

It can be kind of crowded at sunrise and sunset, especially on weekends and holidays – but, it’s still less crowded than the Bump and Grind and most people who hike this trail are pretty cool, except for the few who don’t know what headphones are.

Have a good hike!