Change is afoot in Palm Springs. Once the swinging hangout of Sinatra and Elvis and other rollicking stars, the city went gray, conservative and dreary in the 1980s. But the pendulum of popularity has swung back as a new generation of celebs and hipsters latches onto the city's retro-chic charms.
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From the exhilarating to the relaxing, this luxurious golfer's paradise features activities for every taste.
Indian CanyonsStreams flowing from the San Jacinto Mountains sustain a rich variety of plants in oases around Palm Springs. Home to Native American communities for hundreds of years and now part of the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation, these canyons, shaded by fan palms and surrounded by towering cliffs, are a delight for hikers. Closest to the entrance gate is Andreas Canyon with a pleasant picnic area. Nearby are imposing rock formations where you can find Native American mortar holes, used for grinding seeds, and some rock art. The trail up the canyon is an easy walk. About a 20-minute traipse south from Andreas Canyon is Murray Canyon, which is popular with bird-watchers. With luck, you might even spot an elusive bighorn sheep on the slopes above the canyon. At the end of the winding access road is 15-mile-long Palm Canyon, the most extensive canyon, with good trails and a store selling snacks.
Salton SeaIt's an unexpected sight: California's largest lake in the middle of its biggest desert. After the Colorado River flooded in 1905, it took 1500 workers and half a million tons of rock to put the river back on course. With no natural outlet, the artificial Salton Sea is here to stay: its surface is 220ft below sea level and its waters 30% saltier than the Pacific - it's an environmental nightmare that has yet to be cleaned up.
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