This short, steep trail is popular with locals, both as a convenient workout and for its panoramic views of the Coachella Valley. Another draw is the Bob Hope estate, the saucer-shaped home once owned by Hope and also at different times by Steve McQueen and William Holden. While the estate is in a gated community, this trail allows for as good a look at it as you can get without an invitation. As of this writing, the estate is currently on the market for a cool $25 million. (The HOA fees alone are over $5,000 per month.)
From the trail head, look for the signed Araby Trail on the opposite side of Southridge Drive. For the first 0.2 mile, the trail slinks between a mobile home park and a gated community. It then climbs steadily for half a mile, making switchbacks up the rocky slope, passing by mesquite, cholla cacti and other desert vegetation. The views of Palm Springs get better and better as you ascend. At 0.7 mile, you descend to a saddle below the Hope estate. By this point, noise from nearby Highway 111 is no longer a factor.
The trail then begins a rigorous ascent up a ridge, making a few more switchbacks. The San Jacinto massif dominates the landscape to the west while to the east, you’ll get more glimpses of the Coachella Valley sprawl with the Little San Bernardino Mountains beyond.
At 1.6 miles, you reach the top of the ridge, where the Araby Trail ends at the Berns Trail. Pointy Murray Hill can be seen to the south and you get a bird’s-eye perspective to the north. You can walk a short distance south, east or west for more expansive views before retracing your steps. Hikers who still have gas in the tank after completing the nearly 1,000-foot vertical ascent can continue on to Smoke Tree Mountain and make a loop by descending on the Shannon Trail.
Text and photography copyright 2016 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.