Managed by the Center for Natural Lands Management, the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve is comprised of 880 acres settled into the north side of the Indio Hills with amazing views of Joshua Tree National Park and the Little san Bernardino Mountain. This Preserve is part of the Coachella Valley Preserve that encompasses over 18,000 acres total.

1.About Coachella Valley Preserve

About Coachella Valley Preserve
© Coachella Valley Preserve – Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve

Coachella Valley Preserve System is made up of a rare habitat—palm woodland oasis and desert wetland. This type of ecosystem is endangered with the water supplied by the springs along the San Andreas fault line.

The Coachella Valley Preserve was originally designated to protect the fringe-toed lizard that can be found in the sand dunes of the Coachella Valley. The CNLM also protects the Thousand Palms Canyon that is home to rare and endangered species such as yellow bats and Swainson’s hawks, Rosy Boas and pupfish.

Thousand Palms Oasis Reserve started out as a camping site in the early 1900’s when the Wilhelm family purchased 80 acres of Thousand Palms Oasis and camps in the oasis for several decades. Paul Wilhelm begins renting out camp site and cabins in 1945, after inheriting the land from his father. Over the nect several years, a 15,000-tree palm nursery is planted, dams are installed, and reservoirs are added for water activities and fishing.

In 1972, Justin Dart purchases 19,000 acres of land in the Coachella Valley including, Thousand Palms Oasis and by 1977 committees were at work to incorporate environmental regulations to the Preserve. Biologists and scientist flock to the oasis and in 1978 the US Fish and Wildlife propose a 170-square mile preserve to protect endangered plant and animal species. In 1983, The California Nature Conservancy purchased Thousand Palms Oasis and within a few year donations came in to establish a refugium for pupfish, The Nature Conservancy, and land management. The Thousand Palms Oasis was acquired by CNLM in 2014 and they currently manage and mitigate the land and ecosystems. The Coachella Valley Preserve System is nearly 19,000 acres in entirety with the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve being 880 acres of that land. The other Preserves are Edom Hill/Willow Hole Preserve and The Whitewater Preserve which are found on the west side of the preserve.

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2.Visiting Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve

Visiting Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve
© Coachella Valley Preserve – Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve

A Visitor’s Center with locked parking lot is maintained by the CNLM and can be found at the trail head hub system of the Coachella Valley Preserve. Gates open at 7am all year round and close at 5pm during winter and 6pm during summer. Carpooling or traveling by group transportation is recommended as the parking lot is small and gets crowded quickly in the summer time.

The Visitor’s Center is rustic, made from wood like a log cabin and was built in the 1930’s. Inside, Visitors will find exhibits highlighting the history of the Coachella Valley and the Preserve, conservancy, and environment. The Visitor Center is not open during the summer.

Hiking- There are 28 miles of pedestrian trails with easy to moderate difficulty ratings, picnicking areas available. Trails wind through diverse habitats including the endangered desert palm oasis. There are no dogs or bikes allowed on hiking trails and maps can be downloaded from the website when the Visitor’s Center is not open. Visitors must stay on marked trails and bring out everything they take in, including trash. There are a few trails that are suitable for horseback riding, however, no horses are allowed in the oases and all equestrian trails are marked.

Guided Hikes- Guided hikes from the Visitor’s Center are available from Oct through March for the Thousand Palms Oasis. There are guided hikes for the Coachella Valley Preserve offered all year around with most hikes starting before 10am. The guided hike schedule is always themed and the schedule can be found on the Coachella Valley Preserve Website. Some hike themes include Indian Palms Plant Hike, Guided Bird Walks, Tour of 2 Oases, Nature Walks, and Explore the Ecology of a fault line. Hikes are close to or just over 2 miles long and have a designated Hike Leader. Reservations are not required and a $5 donation is suggested. Hikers should wear sunscreen, hats, and be well hydrated with water on their person. Close-Toed shoes must also be worn.

Picnicking- Visitors will find picnic shelters and tables at Thousand Palms Oasis, Pushwalla, and McCallum Grove. These sites can be found on the map available online or in the Visitor’s Center. No fires or BBQ’s are allowed at picnic sites due to the endangered and threatened status of much of the flora and fauna that is protected in the Preserve. CNLM asks that all visitors take out everything you take into picnic areas including uneaten food and garbage.

29200 Thousand Palms Canyon Road, Thousand Palms California, 92276, Phone: 760-343-1234

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Things to Do in Palm Springs: Coachella Valley Preserve