Riding in the Palm Springs hinterlands offers something for everyone, from flat and non-technical roads to tight mountain hairpins. The lowlands are mostly breathtaking cactus-studded desert, but it takes mere minutes to reach cool, pine-clad heights.
Winter, early spring, and late fall offer sublime riding weather in the desert. Summer is brutally hot (lightweight gear is recommended), yet delightfully warm in the mountains. The High Desert of Mojave can be wickedly cold in winter, too, so dress accordingly. Above all, stay hydrated in the summer, and pack enough water to sip in case of a flat tire or other breakdown.
Palm Springs has heaps to see and do off the bike, from hiking the Indian Canyons and a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the superb Palm Springs Air Museum and Palm Springs Art Museum.
Roads & Biking
The routes described here span fast, well-paved four-laners to remote, narrow, winding sections with occasional potholes. Patches of wind-blown sand sometimes occur, especially on N Indian Canyon and SR 111 north of Palm Springs and SR 78 through Anza-Borrego; high winds are a frequent occurrence in the San Gorgonio Pass. Winter storms can dump enough snow to briefly close the highways to/from Big Bear and Idyllwild.
Fill up with gas at the start of each day—long stretches of desert are without service stations. The roads are perfect for all types of bikes, but a dual-sport will let you divert for some enduro riding. Watch out for deer, especially in the mountains, and notably around dawn and dusk.
Visit Palm Springs
Greater Palm Springs Tourism www.visitgreaterpalmsprings.com
Joshua Tree National Park
Salton Sea State Recreation Area www.tinyurl.com/saltonsea-sra
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Big Bear Lake Tourism
Borrego Springs Tourism
EagleRider Motorcycle Rentals
Desert Moto Rentals in Palm Springs