Ron & Jan's Best Southern California Day Hikes

Hiking Guide with Maps, Images and Information

For 2023 Wildflowers click HERE

Ron & Jan Hikes Slideshow

  • Hiking Bogart Park Panoramas

    Bogart Park

  • Lake Gregory Hiking Panoramas

    Lake Gregory

  • Hiking Big Morongo Canyon

    Big Morongo Canyon Preserve

  • Hiking Gilman Ranch

    Gilman Ranch

  • Hiking Panoramas

    Gilman Ranch Trail Looking towards Bench

  • Hiking Palm Canyon

    Palm Canyon

  • Hiking Andreas Canyon

    Andreas Canyon

  • Hiking Murray Canyon

    Murray Canyon

  • Hiking Tahquitz Canyon

    Tahquitz Canyon

  • Hiking Joshua Tree St. Mill

    Joshua Tree Wall St. Mill

  • Hiking Joshua Tree Ryans Ranch

    Joshua Tree Ryans Ranch

  • Hiking Joshua Tree

    Joshua Tree

  • Hiking Joshua Tree Face Rock

    Joshua Tree Face Rock

  • Hiking Joshua Tree Face Rock

    Joshua Tree Face Rock

  • Hiking Lake Fulmor

    Lake Fulmor

  • Hiking Floating walkway Oak Glen

    Floating walkway Oak Glen

  • Hiking Oak Glen Preserve

    Oak Glen Preserve

  • Hiking Oak Glen Preserve Lower Pond

    Oak Glen Preserve Lower Pond

  • Hiking Whitewater Wash

    Whitewater Wash

  • Hiking Wildwood Canyon

    Wildwood Canyon State Park

  • Hiking Panoramas

    Ridge Trail Wildwood Canyon

  • Hiking Wildwood Canyon State Park

    Wildwood Canyon State Park

  • Hiking Panoramas

    Wildwood Canyon Oak Tree Trail

Easy to Moderate Hiking Trails

We try to walk or hike 5-3 miles, 3-4 times a week. Here are some of our favorite places with easy trails located near our home in Banning Ca. While we do some harder hikes now and then most of our walks and hikes are less than 5 miles and elevation increases less than 800 feet. There are a few exceptions but this guide is focused on easier hikes. None of these hikes require scrambling (climbing rocks) but may have uneven, overgrown and broken trails. While almost all trails are clearly marked, a few are not . A map and/or gps phone app can be very helpful.

Fees and Annual Passes

Some places charge an entry fee like Joshua Tree, Bogart Park, Taquitz Canyon, Tramway, etc. Please check their website for current information and pricing. There are a lot of hiking areas that are free like Big Morongo Canyon Preserve or White Water Preserve. If you will be going to Nationmal Parks a lot, get the Adventure Pass which will get you into national parks and more across the country (including Hawaii) for a year. Seniors can get a lifetime pass for $80.00 (or trade in 4-1 year $20 senior passes).

Be Prepared

Before leaving for a hike always make sure you have everything you need. Water is the most important. Always take more than you think you will need, especially during summer months. Updated printed maps are essential as some areas may not have phone signals. Other things helpful would be a knife, matches, compass, food (nuts, energy bars etc.), first aid kit, sun screen, bug spray, etc.

Using This Site

While navigating these pages you will find links to image slide shows (my copyrighted images) and external links to park / hiking websites. While I try to keep links updated you may get a bad link. If you let me know I will change it asap.

I have tried to give the most accurate information on directions and maps. Most maps are links to The website has tons of information on many hikes. If you are going to hike a lot pay the 29.99 annual fee to unlock all of the features, it is well worth it.

Updated Joshua Tree Site has over 20 easy / moderate hikes for all ages.

Ron and Jan's Best Hikes

Here are our favorite hikes. They range in length and difficulty but offer different things. while we feel these are the best, all of the hikes featured here are great so don't be limited to the list below.

  1. Wildwood Canyon State Park - This is our favorite hiking area. The trails vary in length from 1 mile to 12 miles. this is the best place to spot deer, especially during mating season (Nov-Dec). We spotted a bobcat, a fox, coyotes, rabbits, squirrels and rattlesnakes. Mountain lion and bears also inhabit the park. Our favorite hike is straight up Water Canyon Rd to the old ranch and back. Free entry and parking
  2. Joshua Tree National Park - You will find over 40 trails in the park. We have done over 20, so far. The park is large. It is about 60 miles from the West entrance to the South Entrance. Arrive early to beat the crowds and the heat in warmer months. Park entrance fee is $20.00 per car. Seniors can pay twenty dollars for an annual senior pass. 4 annual senior passes can be turned in for an $80.00 lifetime pass (or 1 pass + $60.00, 2 passes + $40.00 or 3 passes + $20.00). If this is your first time you may want to drive to all of the areas to take it all in.The Skull Rock area is a great first hike,but get there early as it is very popular.
  3. Oak Glen Preserve - The preserve stream trail can be hiked year round (closed if it snows). Spring is the best time to view all of the wildflowers. The 2 mile loop will take you through a forest, by 2 ponds, down aand up a steep trail and along a winding boardwalk. Free parking and entry (donations accepted).
  4. Tahquitz Canyon - Located in Palm Springs this is a beautiful 1.8 mile hike with a waterfall at the top. the hike is a lot up and down, with an elevation of 380 feet. You are required to carry water on this hike . There is a fee for entry $15 per adult, $7 per child.
  5. Indian Canyons - is also located in palm Springs south of Tahquitz Canyons. There are 3 different hiking areas Andreas, Murray and Palm Canyon. Our favorite would be Andreas Canyon. It is an easy 1 mile hike with 187 feet of elevation following a stream that runs most of the year. We have also spotted Bighorn Sheep at the entrance to Palm Canyon. all of the areas offer excellent hiking. Fees range from $12 per adult to $6 per child with discounts for seniors and students.
  6. Desert Hikes -Here you will find other desert hikes other than in Palm Springs. This includes Whitewater Canyon, Morongo Canyon, Palm Desert Preserve and more. These are all free admission and parking. Make sure to bring lots of water during summer months.