This is a great hike for a lot of reasons one of which is that most people do not know of this hike.
Starting out in Palm Desert CA take Highway 74 south of Highway 111 and look for a street named Thrush Road on the right hand (west) side. If you go as far as Haystack you've gone to far. Turn onto Thrush Road and go over the flood control canal. Turn right on to the dirt road and you will see two parking areas (33°42'29.40"N and 116°23'57.05"W). Park and look west. You will see a cross on top of one of the hills aka Palm Desert Cross. You are now at the
Most people will hike to the cross and back to the parking area. You will also hike toward the cross. Take either trail because they will merge on the way up. The trail on the right is the original trail to the Cross and is called the Homestead Trail. As you go up the hill you will see a trail going off to the right and this is the Hopalong Cassidy Trail. Keep going up the hill on the Homestead / Hopalomg Cassidy Trail. If you did go right on the Hopalong Cassidy Trail you would wind your way over to the Cahuilla Hills Park or as far as Painters Path behind the Desert Crossings shopping center. Continue up the hill toward the cross. You will come to another Y in the trail. The left branch is an easier walk to the cross on the Hopalong Cassisy Trail. Take the other branch - straight up the hill, this is the original Homestead Trail. As you continue up the hill you will see that you are going toward a chain link fence. The fence was erected to keep you off of the Stone Eagle Golf Club golf course. You will see a trail branch off to the right. Take that trail and you can see it skirt the fence on the north side. You are now on you way up Shadow Mountain. You will be coming down the same way. This is the Shadow Mountain Trail.
From this point on you will most likely not see another hiker until you come down. Keep your eyes open because the trail seems to disappear in some areas. Look for Rock Cairns. A rock cairn is a pile of rocks that marks where a hiking trail is. Cairns vary in size from two or three rocks stacked on top of each other, to large piles of rocks. Cairns may be built by individual hikers who are trying to mark a particular trail, or from an organized trail maintenance group that maintains a particular section of trail or others. This trail is not well maintained.
The top of Shadow Mountain (33°43'1.59"N and 116°25'24.34"W) provides spectacular view of the Coachells Valley. You will look down on the top of the Bump and Grind Trail. You can see the Palm Springs Airport. You can see Desert Hot Springs. You are up there. The hike is about 4.5 miles.
Be careful, have fun and enjoy the solitude.
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