Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
825.00 ft (251.46 m)
Trail type
5.10 mi (8.21 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Indio Hills Badlands trail is a 5.1 mile loop path that heads into the landscape north of Indio, varying between wide sandy washes, narrow slot canyons, and winding hilltop rambling with views across the whole of the Coachella Valley area.

Beginning in a parking area immediately off the road, the trail passes through a golf course before heading across the sandy plateau while approaching the hilly landscape to the north. Trail markers line the path, making the route clear and easy to follow, even when the path twists and winds through the surprisingly dense network of narrow canyons enountered upon reaching the stone hills. It almost feels like navigating a serpentine labyrinth, with a lot of climbing, descending, squeezing and curving. 

When reaching the wide wash on the north side of the rocks, the amazing geologic formations stack and push toward the sky. The trail winds back, climbing to meet the peaks, offering a wide panoramic view across the valley and over the urban area.

From here, the trail heads back down a wash and eventually back to the early portion of trail, retracing the course back to the trailhead.

This trail should not be attempted if there is any risk of high rain or flash flooding.

There are no amenities of any kind along the trail or at the trailhead. Depending on the time of day, there may be very little shade on this hike. Be prepared.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Easy access from urban area. Excellent views.


Very little shade.

Trailhead Elevation

30.00 ft (9.14 m)

Highest point

530.00 ft (161.54 m)


Big vistas
Geologically significant

Typically multi-day


Suitable for


Permit required



Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping


As visitors to Indio and avid hikers, we asked around for recommendations of trails to explore. The Indio Hills Badlands Trail was recommended, and we decided to check it out. We were dismayed at the amount of trash along the trail and noticed that it seemed to get worse the further in we walked. Off the trail we walked into a canyon of sorts past a Riverside County sign that said no shooting. What was back there was truly shocking--the ground was completely littered with empty propane tanks, wooden boards, empty cans and bottles, many shotgun shells and some bullets, broken glass everywhere, and even an old microwave oven. It looks like whoever goes back there will shoot at just about anything, and so much for the no shooting sign being honored! Of course, the property is extensive, and enforcing the no shooting along with cleaning it up would be a big job. But it's something I recommend. Maybe some trash cans along the trail would help, and I don't know what it would take to keep people with guns out of there. But in my opinion, something should be done. We took out as much trash as we could carry, and it didn't even begin to make a dent in all that's there, which is a distraction to the natural beauty of the place as far as I'm concerned.
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