JOSHUA TREE, Calif. — It has been a longtime coming to get the Long Canyon Trail open and marked for the public to hike into Joshua Tree.

As the only city that is bordered by the famed national park, Desert Hot Springs City Council member Gary Gardner says it has been a dream for the city since 1994.

What You Need To Know

  • The Long Canyon trail links Desert Hot Springs to Joshua Tree National Park

  • It's one of many trails being built in the Coachella Valley

  • The grand opening on Dec. 3 is an idea from 1994 that finally came to fruition

  • City Councilmember Gary Gardner said he hopes the opened trail will deter illegal dumping. Those caught will face a fine of up to $10K

“As tourism has evolved over the years and away from golf and things to more outdoor recreation stuff, this is an integral part of the city and the city’s identity, and the city’s makeup," Gardner said.

“What’s important about this trail is that it really provides access from the Coachella Valley to that trail corridor which has been there but not many people have known about it,” said Jim Karpiak, who is the executive director of the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy.

The Long Canyon Trail is a roughly nine-mile natural trail — one-way — that winds through the wash of the canyon that ends in Yucca Valley. While it is considered moderate in difficulty, the trail gets progressively more strenuous the farther one goes go.

A trail map of Long Canyon Trailhead. (Spectrum News/Sarah Pilla)

Karpiak, however, says there is something for everyone.

“The first mile and a half, the first couple of miles, is fairly easy. It’s worth it for anybody who may only be able to do an easy hike because you can see the perspective of the canyon, you can go up into the canyon,” Karpiak said. 

The Long Canyon trail is one of many that groups are working on building in the Coachella Valley as the desire for outdoor recreation has boomed in recent years.

Gardner says that consumer sentiment has shifted away from once popular activities like golf and tennis to a demand for hiking trails.

“The younger generation wants to come out and enjoy the outdoors, so as they become the major driving force in tourism, we need to have places for them to go do that," Gardner said.

As the wait ends, the Long Canyon Trail into Joshua Tree now awaits those seeking an adventure.