Roadrunner-Chuckwalla-Bighorn Overlook Loop (Rancho Mirage)
- Location: Rancho Mirage City Hall, 69825 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage. From the west, take the 10 Freeway to Date Palm Ave. (exit 126). Turn right and go south on Date Palm for 4.9 miles. Turn left onto Highway 111 and go 0.8 miles. The city hall will be on the right, just past Frank Sinatra Drive. Park in the upper lot by the start of the Bighorn Overlook Trail. Alternately, from the east, take the 10 Freeway to Cook St. (exit 134). Turn left, go one mile south on Cook St. and turn right onto Frank Sinatra Drive. Follow Frank Sinatra Drive 5.2 miles to Highway 111. Cross Highway 111 and turn left into the city hall complex. Park in the upper lot by the start of the Bighorn Overlook Trail.
- Agency: City of Rancho Mirage
- Distance: 3 miles
- Elevation gain: 550 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 1.5 hours
- Best season: October – April
- Dogs: Allowed on leash (exercise caution during warm months)
- Cell phone reception: Good
- Water: None
- Restrooms: None
- Camping/backpacking: None
- Recommended gear: hiking poles sunblock sun hat
- More information: Trip description (different route) here; Roadrunner Trail Yelp page here; Map My Hike report here
- Rating: 6
For a suburban hike, this loop, featuring three of Rancho Mirage’s city trails and a short jaunt along Frank Sinatra Drive, feels enjoyably rugged and adventurous. Highlights include views of San Gorgonio, San Jacinto, Toro Peak and panoramic vistas of the Coachella Valley.
Begin by crossing Frank Sinatra Drive and heading uphill for a few dozen yards to the unsigned but clear Roadrunner Trail. Follow it among the palms, desert willows and jagged rock formations uphill for half a mile where it merges with the Chuckwalla Trail. The Chuckwalla Trail cuts close to the edge of the hillside as it climbs to a vista point with views of the Little San Gorgonio Mountains. At 0.7 mile you reach a junction with a service road and continue, now more or less levelly, along a north facing slope above a mobile home park. The trail drops into a ravine before making a final climb to reach Frank Sinatra Drive (2 miles from the start).
Turn left and walk carefully down Frank Sinatra Drive for 0.4 miles. There is no sidewalk and, in some places, no shoulder. You pass by the Ritz Carlton and the entrance to a gated community before reaching a junction with a service road. Cross the street and pick up the Bighorn Overlook Trail (signed on Google Maps as the Jackrabbit Trail.) Bear left; the actual Jackrabbit Trail heads right, an option if you want to extend the hike. The Bighorn Overlook Trail climbs to knoll (2.7 miles) with a shade structure. After enjoying the views, follow the unsigned Bighorn Overlook Trail downhill, making some tight switchbacks as it returns you to the City Hall parking lot.
Photo Gallery (click thumbnails to see the full sized versions)
Text and photography copyright 2017 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.