As a fairly new inhabitant to Palm Springs, CA, one of the first awkward phrases I heard: “You gotta do the ‘bump-n-grind.'” After smiling politely and drifting away from the suggestor(s), I was relieved to eventually learn that the “bump and grind” is a Palm Springs hiking trail preferred by locals as a great routine workout. “It’s behind the Target.”
Thinking an enjoyable scenic hiking trail could not exist behind a retail store, I was skeptical. This must be a dirt road and not really a hiking trail. Even though I’m a girl, perhaps this trail is too girly. I like a challenging work-out. But I was pleasantly surprised when I approached the trail one day, committed to understanding how the bump and grind got its name, and was immediately intrigued.
It is behind the Target. In the city of Rancho Mirage, off Highway 111 and Fred Waring Dr., behind Desert Crossing Shopping Center is Painter’s Path. The trail starts off Painter’s Path. It first appears as a slightly elevated hill… but as your eyes follow the well-worn paths, you can see the trails disappear behind rocky, mountain-like terrain.
Right away, I spot two separate trails – one left, one right. I go right. There’s company along the way. As mentioned, this is a popular trail with locals, as an early morning work-out, or late afternoon activity. It’s not really a walk of solitude.
I feel prepared for the hike – it’s a warm early spring day and brightly sunny. I wear a light long sleeved hoodie, sunglasses and hat. Others are dressed the same or wear shorts and tanks. If you sunburn easily, opt for sleeves. There’s no shade – just you, rocks and bright sun. Bottled water is a good idea as well.
After applying sunscreen, pulling up the hood of my hoodie and adjusting my shades, I’m ready to hike. Until a member of my hiking group says, “You look like the Una-bomber.” Ouch. Not wishing to be compared to Ted Kaczynski by any other hiker, I give in to my fashionista side and remove said hoodie. Extra sun-screen will work just fine. And, when you think about it, no one over 12 years should wear a hoodie anyway.
As we walk, the trail is narrow at first. You must stop on occasion to let others pass in the opposite direction. This trail does widen up, allowing 2 people to walk side-by-side eventually.
Scenery is nice (here’s a Palm Springs bump and grind
pic from a phone camera)… but the trail is in the middle of a city, so you’ll look out onto Palm Springs. Go high enough and the city noises quiet down. It’s nice to hear wind and foot-steps. Take the ear-buds out and enjoy the symphony of mom nature.
Along the way, saw a couple of lizards, hawks floating around and one squirrel. At least I think it was a squirrel. Also saw a couple of joggers, mountain bikers, a family or two, couples, singles.
First time, it took almost 3 hours to complete this hike… with stops along the way to enjoy the views and rest. Second time, took the left-side trail. It’s more challenging, very steep in some places. It eventually connects to the right-side trail, and leads to the top/end of the trail.
Coming down is nice. Easier than going up… but watch your step. It’s easy to slide on loose rocks.
I do recommend hiking the bump and grind trail when you visit Palm Springs. Since it’s right-here-close-by, it’s easy to find and offers a view other than a golf course or swimming pool. Kids love it. If you’re not an avid hiker, it’s easy to turn around and return to the starting point at any time.
I do warn first-timers that there are little side trails, switchbacks that look inviting but may take you further from your starting point, so stick with the main path.
Enjoy your Palm Springs hike and visit… and rethink the “hoodie.” Map to
– bump and grind trail.