Our top tips for outdoor fun at dawn and dusk

What’s the trick for beating the heat of summer? Don’t beat the heat, work with it! You can enjoy a great summer vacation in Palm Desert by doing what the locals do and plan your activities in either the cool of the morning or in the pleasant dusk of evening after sunset. To make that planning easier, here are our top tips for both early risers and night owls:

Early Risers

If you’re an early riser, you’ll find you’re part of a pretty big flock in Palm Desert. In an environment where early tee times and sunrise hikes are a way of life, plenty of folks are out and about early. If recreation is calling to you, just remember to head out early (and by early, we really do mean dawn) and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Here in Palm Desert, you may want to try the Randall Henderson Trail for that early start. Nestled in a hollow that primarily faces west, it takes a bit longer for the first rays of sun to peak over the ridgeline and onto the trail.

You can also get an early start at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, which operates on summer hours of 7 a.m.-1:30 p.m. through September. You’ll find that the animals are moving around and more active in the morning, making viewing easier. You’ll be able to cover the grounds before the sun gets high in the sky, plus there are numerous shady spots for a cool-down if needed.

If you’d rather not hoof it in the summer heat, another great option is to take a tour. Climb aboard an open-air Jeep and let Desert Adventures do the driving as you head out on their San Andreas Fault tour. This popular tours departs at 8 a.m. each morning. Looking for a tour with an option for a little less wind in your face? Big Wheel Tours offers Jeep and SUV tours to the San Andreas fault and Joshua Tree National Park with a morning departure.

Night Owls

Never fear, night owls, the summertime can be a hoot for you, too. You may find that the best thing to do is to gather your friends, head out to a favorite dining spot, and enjoy a late evening meal on a moonlit terrace. But if you’re looking for a little more adventure, check out some of our wise recommendations below.

As the sun goes down and the stars come out, you’ll find that the desert comes alive. Many local nighttime excursions involve seeking out desert critters or admiring the night sky. Join Friends of the Desert Mountains for one of their Monument Night Adventures, offered periodically throughout the year including monthly from June through September. Participants and trained guides armed with black lights will explore along the Art Smith Trailhead, seeking out scorpions, tarantulas, lizards, spiders, owls, jackrabbits, snakes and maybe a coyote.

If we lost you at snakes, then perhaps it would be wise to stick to exploring the night sky. Friends of the Desert Mountains hosts a monthly Night Sky Viewing of stars and planets at the Art Smith Trailhead. Volunteer astronomers set up their telescopes and and invite folks to stop by any time while they are there to view the ever-changing display of fascinating objects in the night sky. For more information on all of the Friends’ upcoming events, visit their calendar or call the National Monument’s Visitor Center at 760-862-9984.

The Astronomical Society of the Desert holds monthly Star Parties at the Sawmill Trailhead on Highway 74. This location, less than a half-hour south of Palm Desert, provides dark conditions which allow for better viewing of stars, planets, nebulae, comets, meteors and other deep sky objects. Club members bring telescopes and giant binoculars, so just bring your questions to one of these delightful, free events.

If you had a tamer adventure in mind, be sure to swing by the College of the Desert for one of their Sunsets at the Street Fair events this summer. Held on the fourth Saturday of the month from June through September, shoppers can browse to their hearts’ content during the new evening hours of 6:30 – 10:30 p.m. This retail institution is known for carrying everything from sunglasses to golf clubs, so be sure to check it out.

It may sound like we’re trying to crow, but Palm Desert truly can be a delightful destination in summer. For more information on summer specials and up-to-date happenings, be sure to check out the Events page of our website.