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Art Smith Trail

 3.5 (14)

This singletrack is a tough climb through desert scenery, but is a gateway to great trails.

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2,455' 748 m


1,027' 313 m


2,231' 680 m


871' 266 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (20°)

Dogs No Dogs

E-Bikes Unknown

Contrary to previous years, the Art Smith Trail is now open year round. Be advised, this trail leads above 2000' in elevation but that doesn't mean a significant decrease in temperature from the Coachella Valley. It is also just as dry in the mountains as it is on the valley floor. In order to complete this ride on a hot day, a gallon of water is recommended and that's more weight to bring up to elevation. This can make mountain biking very strenuous. Avoid this ride if it's hot.


The trail starts out from Highway 74 immediately south of Bighorn Country Club. Just south of the fence surrounding Bighorn Country Club, you'll encounter the signed trailhead on your right.

The first mile is a tough one, ascending switchbacks. There are a decent amount of hike-a-bike sections throughout the trail but the reward is lots and lots of singletrack and access to great trails like Hahns Buena Vista Trail. You'll pass very close to a few palm oases, and the trail spends very little time in dry washes. There is a really nice downhill section about six miles in where you'll descend into a canyon.

From there, you'll climb back out and spend a little time in a dry wash before climbing out again and coming to Mike Dunn's "rest area" on Dunn Road which is also the trailhead for the Hahns Buena Vista Trail.

The trail is well marked and suffers from very little erosion and is in great condition. Take lots of water, and be ready with tweezers to remove cactus needles from your tires and/or your appendages. The Cholla cactii are all along the trail, and you'll get a lot of them trying to hitch a ride.

The Hopalong Cassidy Trail also starts at an intersection a mile or two from the beginning of Art Smith. That section of Hopalong Cassidy has a few significant hike-a-bike sections and tough climbs until you get to the Palm Desert. Cross if you were looking to connect to other trails in the Palm Desert/Cahuilla Hills area.

You can use this trail to make loops or shuttle rides depending on the weather and your endurance. If you were to ride onward and do Hahns Buena Vista Trail to Dunn Road Trail to Cathedral Canyon Trail you would be looking at a 26-mile loop riding Highway 111 and Highway 74 back to the Art Smith Trailhead.


Shared By:

hugh mcgrath

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 14 votes


  3.5 from 14 votes
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in California


15 Views Last Month
6,086 Since Aug 25, 2016



A few miles in and you'll already be soaring over other trails in the Palm Desert network.
Aug 25, 2016 near Rancho…, CA
Art Smith Trail. Looking west.
Sep 6, 2016 near Rancho…, CA
The wash on Art Smith Trail.
Sep 6, 2016 near Rancho…, CA
Looking southeast on Art Smith Trail.
Sep 6, 2016 near Rancho…, CA
Taking a rest before the fun begins.
Jan 22, 2016 near Cathedr…, CA


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 10 days ago See History
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Feb 20, 2021
Feb 2, 2021
Mark Iverson
Great ride. Comfortable 71 degrees 16.2mi — 3h 22m
Feb 11, 2019
Jim Dover
Jul 5, 2018
Emidio Montoya
Nov 6, 2017
Magnus Verbrugge
Had it to myself - great out and back, lots of tough little climb sections, beautiful views
Oct 21, 2017
Deborah Powers
Jan 8, 2017
TRACEY Channel
Did this w palm tree Epic.....
Dec 29, 2016
Damselfly P