Jane’s Hoffbrau Oasis
- Location: Behind the Elks Lodge at 67491 East Palm Canyon Drive, Cathedral City. From I-10, take the Palm Drive/Gene Autry Trail exit. Turn right on Gene Autry Trail and go 6.1 miles to East Palm Canyon Drive. (Along the way, the route becomes CA Highway 111). Turn left and go 0.8 miles to Elks Drive, just before a big shopping center. Turn right and park in the lot in back of the lodge.
- Agency: Santa Rosa/San Jacinto Mountains National Monument
- Distance: 2 miles
- Elevation gain: 700 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 1.5 hours
- Best season: October – March
- USGS topo map: “Cathedral City”
- Recommended gear: sunblock; sun hat
- Recommended guidebook: Afoot and Afield: Inland Empire
- More information: All Trails page here; trip description (all the way to Murray Hill) here
- Rating: 5
Located in a narrow canyon near the heart of Palm Springs, Jane’s Hoffbrau Oasis is named for Jane Lykken Hoff, former president of the Desert Riders equestrian group. And no, sadly, despite the name, no brewed beverages are available here (although you can grab a cold one after the hike at any of several restaurants at the nearby shopping center.)
The oasis itself is a cozy, quiet little spot and the route features panoramic views of Palm Springs, but the first half of the hike is, to be blunt, rather unpleasant. If you don’t mind taking one for the team, the second half of this hike is enjoyable, and you can easily extend your trip on the network of trails that lace the area.
From the far corner parking area behind the Elks Lodge, enter a gully and prepare to climb over boulders and trash. The ascent is more unattractive than it is difficult; just keep making your way up over the rocks toward the ridge line. No excessively strenuous climbing is required, although the ascent to the top is very steep in spots. Hikers with small kids might want to take extra caution.
After a tenth of a mile (though it seems longer), you reach the top of the gully, where you continue to a dirt road (signed as the Goat Trails on some maps). Head left and uphill. The scenery becomes marginally better here, though it still may feel as if you’re walking through a landfill. You get some good views of pointy Murray Hill straight ahead.
At 0.6 miles, you reach a junction. Both forks soon meet again but the left fork will get you to the oasis more quickly. You descend to another junction where you will stay straight and begin climbing on a single-track.
At 0.8 miles from the start, the single-track rejoins the dirt road. A few yards to your right, look for another single-track leading down into the canyon. This is the payoff: the trail descends in dramatic fashion along the edge of the canyon, past outcrops of rocks, yielding views similar to Joshua Tree National Park’s Fortynine Palm Oasis hike. You reach another fork where you will bear left and descend further, passing a sign welcoming you to the oasis. After a few switchbacks you reach the bottom of the canyon and the oasis itself, where you can relax in the shade of the palms. A dry waterfall site marks the top of the oasis. From here, you can retrace your steps or explore some of the other trails.
Text and photography copyright 2014 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.