The Palm Desert Cross Hike With Kids

Author: Dan Brewer

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The Palm Desert Cross hike is one of the best hikes in Palm Desert. Popular with locals and visitors alike, you’ll be sharing the trail with everyone from young families hiking with kids to power walking retirees. Everyone is in a good mood, with a big smile on their faces with a friendly “hello” as you pass by.

The Palm Desert Cross is perched up high on a hill overlooking the citizens of Palm Desert. It’s one of the best easy Palm Desert hikes and the hike to the cross is very scenic, which is likely why it’s so popular.

hike in palm springs with view of city.

The Palm Desert Cross hiking trail winds its way up and around some desert valleys along the side of a mountain at the southwest edge of Palm Desert. You’ll find nothing blocks the amazing views of Palm Desert down below as the hiking terrain is mostly rocks and small desert scrub plants.

image of cross loop hiking trail in palm springs ca

The Palm Desert Cross hike is a loop, and you may also see this hike referred to as The Cross Trail Loop. You’ll need to leave the loop for a little bit near the top to see the cross. The spur trail to the Palm Desert Cross runs along the top of a ridge, affording you great views in two directions. Once at the top, there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the views.

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The Palm Desert Cross Hike Stats

Palm Desert Cross Trail Distance

The full round-trip distance of the Cross Trail Loop is 3.5 miles / 5.6 km.

Elevation Gain on the Palm Desert Cross Hike

The Palm Desert Cross hike is a slow, steady climb up the slopes of a mountain. The total elevation gain on this hike is 775 feet / 237 m.

How Hard is the Palm Desert Cross Trail?

We’d rate the Palm Desert Cross trail as ‘easy’. The elevation may be an issue for some who are not used to climbing hills, but people of all ages and abilities were out enjoying this hike.

How Long will the Cross Hike Take?

It took us 2.25 hours to complete the loop (3 hours including breaks). This is a little faster than usual as our kids were having so much fun, they ran a decent amount of the hike.

 two kids hiking cross loop trail in Palm springs which is a kid friendly things to do in palm springs
Dobongsan Trail Map on AllTrails

AllTrails Map

Ensure you are on the right trail by downloading the Palm Desert Cross hiking trail map onto your phone.

The Palm Desert Cross Hike Trail Location

The Palm Desert Cross trailhead is accessed by driving through a suburb at the edge of town. There’s a large parking lot near the trailhead and even though the trail was very busy when we visited, the parking lot was still about half full.

The Palm Desert Cross Hike Highlights

Super-friendly locals and the views along this cityside mountain hike are what makes the Cross Trail a really fun family hike. The views from the top sitting under the Palm Desert Cross are amazing of course, but the views throughout the hike are very enjoyable too.

s mother and son walking up to cross on Cross Loop Hiking Trail in Palm Springs.

Hiking the Cross Trail with Kids

The Palm Desert Cross trail is a fun activity when you visit Palm Springs with kids. With so many active retirees on the trail, be prepared for your kids to be very popular. Nearly every group you pass will stop and talk to your kids, asking questions and giving praise and encouragement. It’s a very friendly and fun atmosphere and your kids will love the attention.

image of one of the short hikes in palm springs

Here are a few other considerations for hiking the Cross Trail with kids:

There is a washroom at the trailhead. Be sure that everyone goes here as the trail is very busy and there is nowhere to hide.

There is also a water station (for humans and dogs!) by the trailhead. This is a desert hike, so fill up your water bladders at the trailhead. Bring more water than you think you’ll need.

We recommend you read our post of our recommended hiking gear for kids. Specific to this hike, your biggest risk on the Cross hike is sun exposure. Be sure your kids wear sun hats, have full sunscreen on and stop for frequent water breaks. If they are not asking to stop and pee, they haven’t had enough water.

This trail is not stroller accessible, but it is very common in Palm Springs for parents to carry their little ones on their backs in a hiking backpack carrier.

Plenty of people had their dogs on-leash on this trail.

Kids love climbing on rocks. There are plenty of opportunities for kids to show off their monkey skills on this hike.

Where to Stop for Lunch or a Break

The best place to stop for a lunch or snack break is at the top of the hike, beneath the Palm Desert Cross. It’s a large flat area with lots of good rocks to sit on to enjoy the 360-degree view, while eating and resting your legs.

two kids hiking in Palm Springs.

More Palm Springs Hikes with Kids

 the Cross Trail Loop Hike in Palm Desert.
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Dan Brewer is an intrepid family travel blogger with a passion for exploring the world's most captivating destinations. With 58 countries under his belt and a sense of wanderlust that knows no bounds, he has made it his life's mission to share his travel experiences and insights with fellow families who love to travel.

When Dan isn't traveling with his wife and kids, he's either out enjoying the Canadian Rockies he calls home or working on one of his three travel sites (Family Can Travel, Travel Banff Canada and Ultimate Sports Road Trip).