We’ve ascended the trail to San Jacinto at least half a dozen times. We are proud “Six-pack of peaks” finishers with this treacherous hike under our belt. Completing our journey around the SoCal mountains we never thought that we’d ever be brave enough to scale the peak with our little infant. Although as soon as our son started walking we headed to one of our favorite most tourist destination in all of California – Palm Springs. Long Valley Discovery Trail – our destination point for this mini expedition.
Driven by a need to get away from the busy hectic life of the big city we ended hiking the Indian Springs. Exploring Palm springs with an infant turned out to be a pleasant experience. We also did go during the colder month – February when the temperature doesn’t tend to go above 90, it is a desert after all. When our son was a few month old we decided not to go on the Aerial Tram up to the winter land of the SoCal mountains.
Here’s an article btw about that one time when we almost got lost in Joshua Tree – a national park that’s only and 1 1/2 north of Palm Springs.
The second time however, when we escaped San Francisco Bay wild fires of 2018, our son was much older and we had a fantastic experience walking around the Long Valley Discovery Trail. Our kid was simply ecstatic to be spun around in a circle while going up to the base camp. After a short Ride on the Aerial Tramway we made our way to the nature trail.
Long Valley Discovery Trail with kids
The trail in itself has two loops – a smaller oval one encircled by a larger irregularly shaped trail. The longer trail actually is not that long at all. We completed the hike in 2 hours – which was more of a slow pace stroll on relatively flat terrain than a strenuous ascend.
There are several “Notch” – look out points on the hike. Undoubtedly Notch 1 and 3 were out favorite ones. Treeless overlooks of the Palm Springs city below truly make you realize the grand massiveness of the San Jacinto mountains. This is one of those once in a life time experience that you absolutely must include on your bucket list.
To our own surprise, after going to San Jacinto for years we realized that we’ve never actually walked the Long Valley trail. Having a child, made our nature excursion a bit more slow paced – actually making us appreciate these precious moments even more.
Hiking with children in California
Initially we thought that our travels around California will be placed on hold once we have a child, and in fact it turned out that we started an a different type of an adventure where we get to see the world through our son’s eyes. Here’s a cool article that Fatherly published on our travels around California.
Although we wouldn’t recommend hiking to the top of San Jacinto with kids you can still enjoy the aerial tram with kids while visiting Palm Springs. Long Valley Discovery Trail is ideal for families with little kids or children/adults with limited abilities. There are plenty of quiet spots for your family to have brunch in the nature and be awed by some of California’s pristine viewing points.
Final thoughts on Palm Springs aerial tram hike
Going to the Palm Springs during the winter is ideal – since it won’t be that hot. However if you’re ascending to the mountains on the tram be prepared to enter a full blown winter land with snow and cold climate.
Going to the Palm Springs during the summer is not recommended for parents with infants (it can get really hot and imagine if your car breaks on the way, in the middle of the desert). Nevertheless you will have an exceptionally pleasant refreshing experience hiking the Long Valley Discovery Trail and the trail to the peak,.