On Christmas Day I selfishly went out for a long solo run/hike in Palm Springs. I had done some research prior on trails in the area, and decided on the Garstin Trail. This trail looked like a good one because it meets up with 9 other trails. My plan was to do Garstin to Berns to Araby (where you can see Bob Hope’s house), and hopefully link up with Fern Canyon and/or Murray Peak if I was lucky.
I parked in the residential neighborhood by the Garstin Trail Trailhead. The first stretch are narrow switchbacks with a pretty fast ascent. However, once at the top, it turns into a plateau of single track with slight rolling hills amongst the red dirt and desert plants.
I easily found my way through Garstin to Berns. Then I found signs leading to Araby. So I ran down a highly trafficked trail, viewed Bob Hope’s house, and realized I was getting to an RV park where another trail entrance was, and essentially the end of the road. At this point I was around 5-6 miles, so I decided to eat half of my PB&M (marmalade) sandwich. Eventually I wanted to get to Murray Peak, however, Google maps made it appear as though I would need to drive or take a completely different route to achieve this.
Feeling a little down even though I basically accomplished what I set out to do, I decided to turn back to the top. Back here I found the sign that pointed for Garstin, Berns and Araby, however, there was a trail leading off with no markings. I decided to run on this for a bit, and kind of randomly started following other offshoots from this trail. Just when I was about to turn back, I saw a family roaming around and a larger brown sign. It was just the thing I was looking for, the Clara Burgess trail, aka the route to Murray Peak.
All of the trails (minus Araby because it was so populated) were so enjoyable.I loved how desolate and alone I felt. It felt so liberating to barely have anyone around. Just being surrounded by endless trails and expansive mountains that felt so removed from the housing developments and golf courses below.
I ended up running 12 miles and being out there for close to 3 hours 45 minutes.
Garstin Trail to Murray Peak
Entrance: Garstin Trail Trailhead, Palm Springs, CA 92264
Route: Start at the Garstin Trail Trailhead. Follow the trail up the Shannon trail until you meet Berns. Follow the Berns loop until it pops out to Garstin again. Option to descend down Araby to view Bob Hope’s House. Come back up to the fork and follow the unmarked trail (I think this is still part of Garstin). This will become the Wild Horse Trail, which will become Clara Burgess. Clara Burgess will lead you to Murray Peak. Retrace your steps to get back to the start. (I got kind of lost but remembered that I originally came from the Garstin Trailhead, so although it might of cut off some of the loops I did earlier, I still made my way back down). For more information on these trails visit here.
Miles: 12 miles