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The La Quinta Cove: “A Gem in the Gem”

Bill Baker, an avid hiker and La Quinta Resident

Last month Sunset Magazine recognized the La Quinta Cove hiking trails as number five of forty-five leading areas in the Western States. Why was this area chosen among the better-known areas listed?

I have been hiking in the “Cove” for several years and will give you my reasons for the recognition honor.

  • Variety of trails: The area has three main trails ranging from easy, (Cove to Lake trail three miles one way with less than 300 feet of climb) to strenuous, (Bear Creek Oasis over four miles with nearly a 2,000 foot climb). The third major trail has both distance and elevation. (Boo Hoff Trail named after a Desert Rider is 9 miles long and climbs 2,000 feet one way). Numerous other beautiful desert hikes cross in the Cove on “social trails”. To aid new visitors, I like to tell people to use their watch to measure hiking distance. This allows you to hike on a trail one-way for an hour and cover about two miles and then return for an additional two miles. (Note: Normal trail hiking speed is about two miles per hour.) It is an easy was to plan your activity.
  • Excellent directions: The trails are color coded with orange arrows for the Cove to Lake, blue arrows for the Boo Hoff and green for the Bear Creek Oasis. In Addition the City provides an excellent map with routes and safety information.
  • Cleanliness: A while ago the Cove was littered with trash, animal residue and graffiti. With the help of volunteers explaining to the users of trails the ethics of trail use, this is no longer the case. Now hikers, bikers, and horse backers share and enjoy a clean and safe place to recreate.
  • Nature: The Cove has many of nature’s wonders for all to enjoy. Above the flood control (the lower entrance to the trails) desert geology, plants, life zones and animals are present. Guided hikes from many sources including the City of La Quinta provide interpretation of these attributes including the medicinal properties of the plants pioneered by the local Native American tribes. With hydration in the spring it comes alive with flowers on the hillsides and washes. If you are fortunate you might even see a Peninsular Big Horn Sheep. This species is endangered but present on occasion to the keen eye. Coyotes, kit foxes, reptiles and birds are found in the area too. During the winter season La Quinta has many lectures including the heritage of the City.

Many local residents frequent the Cove year round to enjoy many of its attributes. Public lands are open for all to use but learning more about how to respect our heritage is key to preservation of our heritage. We call is area a “Gem” amongst the many the City of La Quinta has to offer. I fully agree with Sunset’s selection and encourage you to come out to the top of the Cove and explore this beautiful area.



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