The Randall Henderson loop is actually comprised of 3 trails - the Desert Wash Loop
, the Cholla Loop
and the Canyon Loop
. That's a lot to pack into 2.4 miles, but as with most desert riding, these are long miles.
Need to Know
The trailhead begins at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center. Parking is free. There are free maps and bathrooms at the visitor's center, which is open Open Thursday through Monday
Closed Tuesday and Wednesday
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Oct - May
8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Jun - Sept
Starting at the visitor center, continue on to the Desert Wash Loop
trailhead. While it is possible to do this ride clockwise, many people opt to skip the sandy and difficult north section and instead do a lollypop ride going out the south side of the Desert Wash Loop
to the south section of the Cholla Loop
and ending with the full Canyon Loop
If doing a clockwise loop, stay left at the intersections going out. There are a few singletracks that cut back if you are looking for a short ride. Continue through the deep sand of the Desert Wash Loop
to the Cholla Loop
. When you arrive at the Canyon Loop
, you can loop either clockwise or counter-clockwise. Both directions have a climb to a rocky jeep road and then come back down into the wash for the return journey.
To do this ride as a lollypop, start on the southside of the Desert Wash Loop
and continue to the Cholla Loop
. Ride the Canyon Loop
loop in either direction, then retrace your steps back to the parking lot.
This ride is a good introduction to Coachella Valley riding. The climbing is fairly minimal compared to other trails, but the sandy sections and rocks make it challenging. Give the teddybear cholla a wide birth, you don't want to fall on one of those cactus. And, of course this is desert riding, bring lots of water and avoid midday riding.
History & Background
Randall Henderson was instrumental in the development of Palm Desert. An author, desert explorer, and early visionary, he realized the area's potential and began to document its history and growth in The Desert Magazine, a periodical he published from the 1930s through the 1960s. The Randall Henderson Trail was dedicated on February 5, 2005, by family members.