Sometimes, when you’re on the road, you find locations that are great hikes, but since you’re not a local, you may end up calling the location by a new name that has no relation to the old or actual name. Case in point: for years, I’ve been visiting Palm Desert. About ten years ago, I got tired of running around the same flat streets, and while running by the Target in Palm Desert, I saw people climbing a hill. I figured, “Hey, that looks like some good variety, not too tough, I’ll hit that up tomorrow”. Needless to say, when I “hit it up” the next day, I found that it was a lot more strenuous than, “not too tough” (more on that later), but I still had a great time. I found it so enjoyable that every time I was in Palm Desert after that, I went up and around it. All this time, I thought it was called the “Painter’s Path” trail, because I thought I had seen a sign near Highway 111 at the start that said that.
When I went to do a little research to write this piece about the hike, I found that it is called “The Bump-n-Grind” trail, “Dog Poo Trail”, “Patton Trail”, or “Desert Drive Trail”, but more often than not, “The Bump-n-Grind”. At first I was in denial - surely, I had a picture of the trailhead sign that proved I was right. Nope. No pictures of that purported sign. Then, I thought that it was an isolated nickname – surely, there was another name for it that confirmed I was right. Nope. Bump-n-Grind seemed to be chapter approved by locals. At this point, while bemused – I had been telling people about this hike for years – “you go up over behind the Target”, and calling it by my name, it was clear that I was wrong. Then again, a hike by any name is surely better than no hike at all?
Directions: Park in the Target parking lot right off Highway 111 in Palm Desert (http://sites.target.com/site/en/spot/store_details.jsp?&storeNumber=940&referringURL=%2Fsite%2Fen%2Fspot%2Fstate_results.jsp%3Fstate%3DCA). The trail leaves off the back of the parking lot and is readily apparent; there is also an access point slightly North of the Target entrance up Highway 111 past the Tilted Kilt. Either way, be prepared for a short but very steep ascent that heads up for about ~1000 vertical feet before dead-ending at a spot in the mid-foothills that overlooks the Coachella Valley, and all of Palm Desert below. From the dead-end spot, there are other foot trails that head up further into the foothills, but they are not “approved” trails or routes. From the dead-end, the hike heads back down the hill to the parking lot. Total distance: a little over two miles roundtrip.
Tips: Did I mention above that I thought it’d be not too tough, but was surprised? Yeah, that’s right. It’s steeeeeeeeeeeep. Think about it: you start at around ~200 feet and you go up to ~1250 feet in a little over a mile. That’s steep. But fun! If you’re going to run it, it’s a leg burner. If you’re going to walk it, it’s still a burner. Is it doable? For sure, there will likely be tons of people on it. Enjoy it, and the view. Do bring water – it’s the desert. Don’t head up midday in the dead heat of summer, unless you can really handle that 110 degree heat and physical exertion. Do call it what you will, but do know that it is officially the “Bump-N-Grind”.
See you on the trail!