Oswit Canyon Hike: A Hidden Gem in Palm Springs

Oswit Canyon Hike is a delightful short trail that offers a moderate to easy trek, which most hikers can complete in under an hour. This 1.2-mile loop trail starts adjacent to the Canyon Heights neighborhood and serves as the south trailhead for the South Lykken Trail. The canyon itself is a spectacular natural wonder and serves as a habitat for endangered bighorn sheep, desert foxes, bobcats, mountain lions, migratory birds, raptors, and various other wildlife species. 

The Trail

The hike commences as a moderately flat trail, but as you progress towards the canyon, it gradually becomes slightly rugged and rocky. Negotiating these rocks is not challenging, making it accessible to hikers of varying skill levels. It’s important to note that the trail offers little to no shade, so the sun can be intense, especially during summer days. To fully appreciate the beauty of the canyon, we chose to embark on our hike on a late September evening around 6 pm, providing the perfect lighting conditions. The soft sunlight mingling with the emerging moon created a surreal ambiance, and the desert sunset painted the sky with shades of red. A gentle breeze helped alleviate some of the heat, although we were mindful of the possibility of encountering snakes (which, fortunately, we did not).

As we continued along the path, it meandered deeper into the mountain area, offering opportunities for our kids to engage with the rocks along the trail, climbing up and down with enthusiasm. Upon reaching the turning point, we continued our steps along the designated path. Some sections of the trail branched off towards the mountain, which we decided to save for another visit due to the fading daylight. We cautiously maneuvered through a few tricky areas with sandy and dusty surfaces, being careful not to slip on the unstable terrain.

The Landscape

The surrounding landscape was a captivating, rugged, and untouched wilderness. From our vantage point, we could observe the South Lykken Trail, which we had hiked the previous day, and the hikers descending from it appeared minuscule in the distance. The natural scenery was pristine, with beautiful cacti and other desert shrubs dominating the trail area. It’s worth noting that there is no respite from the sun on this trail, as there are no trees to provide shade. While we kept our eyes peeled for wildlife, we were not fortunate enough to spot any larger animals, though there were plenty of birds soaring overhead in search of food. We also came across some bats, grasshoppers, and dragonflies along the path.

Most hikers can complete this trail in less than 45 minutes, and some may even choose to run it due to its relatively easy nature. The hike exudes a calm and serene ambiance, making it accessible to a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts. Once you return to the main trail, you’ll find yourself alongside the South Lykken Trail. For those feeling adventurous, there’s also a small loop trail that takes about 5 minutes to complete.

Exploring the Oswit Canyon Hike is a memorable experience, and we owe our gratitude to the Oswit Foundation for their relentless efforts in preserving this magnificent untouched canyon. Their dedication has allowed us to enjoy this natural wonder and explore its beauty instead of seeing it succumb to development.

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