Palm Springs: Horseback Riding in Indian Canyons

King Tut

If a horse is a girls best friend, then I have a best friend named King Tut.

We met in November on an outdoor adventure trip arranged by Visit Palm Springs.  We didn’t trade friendship bracelets or secrets, but we shared a beautiful ride through the Indian Canyons, a place I shall not soon forget.

The day began at Smoke Tree Stables, located in the heart of South Palm Springs.  I wore my riding boots and borrowed a dusty cowboy hat.

Smoke Tree Stables
Smoke Tree Stables
Hat Collection



We loaded the horses onto the trailer and discussed the perils of bull riding on the short drive to Agua Caliente Indian Reservation.


King acted shy at first.   He shuffled his feet and kept his eyes toward the ground.  I offered him some gentle words of encouragement as we set foot on the trail.

Before long, we came to the side of a river.  The water was lined with hundreds of skirted palm trees for as far as the eye could see.  I never would have imagined water rushing through the desert canyon, but this was no mirage.  King carefully stepped into the water and carried me across.

The trail got steep as we climbed to a lookout.  From  the rocky canyon, I gazed up at Mount San Jacinto, where I hiked through lush woods and meadows just a few months before.  I patted King on the back, while I took in the surrounding views of the Santa Rosa Mountains and the city of Palm Springs.

Our Tour Guide and Horse Whisperer
Indian Canyons Ride
My Fellow Cowgirls

We returned to the desert floor and followed the river, crossing back and forth through the water.  I heard there is a series of waterfalls upstream called Seven Sisters.  I will come again to see for myself.


Back at the trailhead, King and I said our goodbyes.  Though our friendship was brief, these canyons will always remind me of him.

Horseback Riding in Palm Springs:

  • Smoke Tree Stables has been family owned and operated for over 65 years.  For pricing and schedule of guided horseback tours, please visit
  • Aspen Mills Bakery in Palm Springs prepares delicious boxed lunches, and they deliver!  Order ahead and enjoy lunch under the shade of ancient palm trees.

Special thanks to Smoke Tree Stables, Aspen Mills Bakery and Visit Palm Springs for the horse-riding adventure and delicious lunch!

Get Directions

[mappress mapid=”5″]


Join the Shoestring Adventures Club!

Join us today to receive exclusive perks and to take your adventures to the next level! Members will receive access to our private Facebook group, early-registration for events and special discounts.

Sign up today!

More from Alyx Schwarz

Desert Fever: Road Trip to Salvation Mountain

Facebook Twitter Pinterest EmailsharesLast Friday, my little sister and I headed down...
Read More


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.