Hiking in the Palm Springs area is one of my favorite things to do. Granted I have only done it in December, after having left behind a very very rainy Oregon. So the heat (minor given the time of year) is not terrible and hiking in a completely exposed desert is not a complete death sentence and the dry climate was quite welcome.
The first time I went to this area we stayed in La Quinta, a southern suburb (is it a suburb?) of Palm Springs. The area is small, mostly comprised of houses, condos, and golf courses. Which I suppose for the most part is a pretty accurate assessment of most of the greater Palm Springs area. We rented a house in the “cove” of the La Quinta area, not knowing we had booked a house walking distance to a major hiking area. What a happy accident.
There are several hikes in the cove area and I think we have done them all now. My favorite is the BooHoff Trail. Which is a 17.5 mile hike through the desert flats of the cove, up into the mountains and back around past a lake. The hike is challenging but the views are well worth it.
The area is so popular it was voted top 45 best hikes on the west coast by Sunset Magazine!