Coachella Valley's Natural Attractions Abound

A trip to the top of Mt. San Jacinto, on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is an awesome experience. Ride from the desert floor to an elevation of 8,516 feet, via the world's largest, state-of-the-art, rotating tramcars. The Tram runs year 'round, for hiking, dining, and, in season, cross-country skiing.

The Living Desert Wildlife and Botanical Park, covering 1,200 acres, is home to the animals and plants of 10 worldwide ecosystems, including our own desert. Meet meerkats and bighorn sheep; visit Village Watutu, a unique African exhibit; enjoy the "Wildlife Wonders" animal shows. The Living Desert is a treat for children and adults.

East of Palm Desert lies Joshua Tree National Park, encompassing over 700,000 acres. Two deserts come together at Joshua Tree: The Colorado Desert, occupying the eastern half, is dominated by the abundant creosote bush; the higher, slightly cooler and wetter Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the Joshua tree.

West of Palm Desert lie the Indian Canyons. Once home to the native Cahuilla people, the canyons are open to the public. Palm Canyon, located to the west, is one of the great beauty spots in Western North America. Its indigenous flora and fauna, which the Cahuilla people used so expertly, and its abundant Washingtonia filifera (palm trees), are breathtaking contrasts to the stark, rocky gorges and barren desert lands beyond. Tahquitz Canyon, still held sacred to the tribes, was long closed to the public. Now a new cultural center welcomes the public for guided walking tours. Murray and Andreas Canyons each have their own particular beauty.

The desert boasts many other attractions, such as Children's Discovery Museum, Palm Springs Air Museum, and Knott's Soak City Water Park.

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