Have you ever really explored the desert? I am not talking about exploring the pool at a swanky Palm Springs resort or navigating the porta-potty line at the Coachella Music Festival, I mean getting to know the flora, history, and culture of that huge expanse of dry land a couple hours east of LA. Believe it or not, the desert has many great stories to tell and adventures to share, you just have know the right storytellers. Luckily, the people behind the wheel of the shiny red jeeps at Desert Adventures are happy to have you climb on board and head off-road for an eco- tour that will have you telling your own stories for years to come.
Desert Adventures first began nearly 25 years ago when as way to entertain golf-widows staying at the Ritz Carlton by taking them on picnics in nearby Indian Canyons and the surrounding wilderness. Today, the company has evolved into the largest eco-tour outfitter in the state and couples, groups, and families explore those same canyons, as well as a variety of other desert locales, with some of the most knowledgeable guides around.
Desert Adventures guides tailor tours to suit the needs of the group. Families with small children will appreciate the hands-on approach the guides take with children, having them sniff the “smell of a desert rain” that the creosote bush releases, grind up seeds on an Indian grinding rock in a meticulously recreated Cahuilla Indian village, or pan for gold in an old mining camp leftover from the homesteading days. Kids have so much fun being outside and trying things first hand that they don’t even notice that you are sneaking in an educational experience! Of course, riding around off-road in the back of a jeep is sure to put a smile on any adventurous child’s face.
Adults will appreciate all the fun facts (did you know that a palm tree isn’t really a tree and that any time you see a palm tree in the desert, water is less than 7 feet below the ground?) and fascinating history of the people who lived in the area long before Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra. Listening to our guide tell stories about the lawless and colorful characters that settled the desert near the turn of the 20th century was better than any soap opera I have seen. Tour goers will also appreciate the extreme geology of the San Andreas Fault and its surrounding slot canyons, the unique beauty of hiking to a desert waterfall in a palm lined canyon, and opportunity to visit places that they may have visited before but with a narration like they have never experienced.
Desert Adventures currently offers several different tour options including a San Andreas Fault tour, Indian Canyons tour, and Joshua Tree National Park tour. Prices for public tours range from $100 to $200 per person and 2-6 hours in length. Most tours last about three hours but trust me, those three hours will leave you with a new appreciation of the desert and the urge to schedule your next tour.
To schedule your Desert Adventure call (888) 440-5337 or visit their website.
Sharlene Earnshaw is blog editor for Trekaroo, a website dedicated to helping families travel better.