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Riding through the Indian Canyons

Happy Monday! Did you guys do anything fun this weekend? I’m still flipping through my photos and dreaming about the peaceful and remote desert adventure we had.

One of our stops included a visit to Smoke Tree Stables in Palm Springs. I’ve always loved horses ever since I was a kid and dreamt of being able to ride regularly like so many of my classmates at school. Every week, we’d pass this one stable on my way to my piano lesson and I’d peer intently through the window to see how many horses were hanging around outdoors. I considered it good luck when I would spot one or two. (A bit dorky, I know). ?

Being such a fan of horses and riding, I’ve done a handful of trail rides throughout the years. Most recently, when I was in Puerto Rico this January, we rode along the beaches right on the shore of the ocean. Horseback riding on the beach? Magical, I know.

Believe me, riding through the Indian Canyons was equally magical, but in such a vastly different landscape! We arrived at the stable 30 minutes prior to the regularly scheduled 9am ride. This stable is a little different from what I’ve previously encountered; you don’t usually need a reservation to ride! As long as you show up at the right time based on their schedule, you should be good to go.

We signed our releases and were given the option of helmets or cowboy hats (for shade). The stable also provided each rider with a free chilled bottle of water and these nifty saddle bags to put your personal belongings in.

Since we opted to do the 2-hour trail ride through Murray Canyon, each of our horses was loaded up into a trailer and transported to the Murray Canyon trail.

The trailer transported the horses as we drove a short 10 minutes into the Indian Canyons park.

We met up with our horses at the start of the trail. Tak got the sweetest horse named Pablo. As his reins were handed to Tak, Pablo looked at me and literally came forward and put his face by my hand so I would give him a pat!

My sweet ride was a horse named Jimmy. I was told right away that Jimmy thinks he’s on a “see-food” diet, and sure enough, he took his sweet time on the trail, munching away at green grub whenever he had a chance. I didn’t mind much, because it gave me some good distance to capture photos throughout the ride.

The scenery was unreal, but fair warning, you’re about to see a lot of horse butts.

We rode through the canyon and up the side of the terrain to an elevation of 1600 ft. So much respect for the hard-working horses who carried our lazy butts through the rocky trail. It’s definitely not an easy trail to hike if we had to do it ourselves!

The entire team from Smoke Tree Stables was so friendly and made sure we had a great experience. One of our guides was even kind enough to take some photos for us during our ride. (So I, of course, took a photo back ?)

Up along the side of the canyon, we looked out and could see miles and miles away… down at the windmill farm, past the fault line, towards the mountain range on the other side.

At the heart of the canyon laid a natural oasis of spring water and palm trees. It was surreal to see a genuine oasis and palm grove in the middle of the Mojave Desert!

We splish splashed through the streams (to the dismay of some croaking frogs) and made our way back towards the trail head after about two hours of riding.

If you’re ever out towards Palm Springs and fancy yourself some unbelievable sights, definitely check out doing a trail ride in the Indian Canyons! Hands down one of the top horseback riding experiences I’ve ever had.

Emily is a Los Angeles based content creator with a passion for photography, videography, and storytelling. Through @emwng, you'll find photos and videos of people, places, delicious food, and of course, her two fluffy sidekicks Kokoro and Chibi.

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