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blue Randall Henderson Loop

  3.1 ( 7 ) Favorite

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2.6 mile 4.2 kilometer loop
85% Singletrack


Ascent: 416' 127 m
Descent: -415' -127 m
High: 1,405' 428 m
Low: 991' 302 m


Avg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 19% (11°)


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Trail shared by Wendy Sweet

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A 2.4 mile loop through the desert.

Wendy Sweet

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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.


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Mar 4, 2019
Niv Binymini
some parts on the trail is hard to ride. my chain was broken on the why up. I had to go down fixing it and then go back up to finish the loop. 2.6mi
Dec 31, 2018
Juan Pantoja
Feb 8, 2018
Jim Roselle
0h 34m
Nov 22, 2017
Marcus Varnai
2.6mi — 1h 00m
Jan 30, 2017
Eric Peterson
Jan 10, 2016
Dave Adams
Nice little ride. Had to push my bike up the wash, sand got deep... Once out of the wash it looked steep but was not so bad, just grind it out and coa 2.4mi — 1h 00m

Trail Ratings

  3.1 from 7 votes


  3.1 from 7 votes
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Dave Adams
Winters, CA
Dave Adams   Winters, CA
Nice little ride. Had to push my bike up the wash when the sand got deep... Once out of the wash it looked steep but was not so bad, just grind out the gentle switchbacks and you're at the top for a nice downhill blast. (Although there are many hikers including small kids, so be kind). Good introductory ride...water and restrooms nearby..plenty of parking...and greater challenges across the street! Jan 10, 2016
Ride this counter-clockwise, and go left at second Cholla intersection...otherwise, you'll run into a sucky, sandy wash hike-a-bike section for close to a quarter mile. May 26, 2016
Dave Mueller
Lacey, Wash./Cathedral City…
Dave Mueller   Lacey, Wash./Cathedral City…
Although I've done several 3000', 15 mile trips, I wasn't prepared for the gnarly switchbacks and exposure I found here. Dropoffs to big rocks made for some nervousness to this newbie for sure. I guess it just takes some getting used to. Plan to try it again soon, as it's short. Nov 7, 2016

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