Take a moment to consider the ingredients necessary for the perfect Winter bicycle tour. At the top of the list is a climate with typically dry weather and a break from the harsh cold season found elsewhere in much of North America. Next, the roads have to be great for cycling. And to make it a hassle-free vacation, the location needs to have relatively easy access. We’ve turned the pedals over all across the US and have spent a few seasons in search of that Eureka! moment. And we’re here to tell you, we’ve found it in our California Desert Bike Tour. Come ride with us through Joshua Tree National Park, Borrego Springs, Yaqui Pass, and more!
Day 1 – Meet Palm Springs, Bike Palm Springs to Indian Wells via Coachella Valley – up to 44 miles with 1,600 ft gain & 2,400 ft loss, Optional Hike – 2 miles with 100 ft gain & loss
Our tour begins in the morning, in the desert resort town of Palm Springs. Here we will fit everyone on their bicycles, then take a scenic ride over and along a small part of California’s most famous faultline – the San Andreas fault which stretches from the Mexican border past San Francisco and into the Pacific Ocean. Our ride features stunning views of the surrounding San Bernardino mountains along the border between two of California’s deserts: the Mojave and the Colorado. Before lunch, you’ll have the option to enjoy a unique walk in a palm oasis at the Coachella Valley Preserve. Later you’ll arrive in Indian Wells at the 4-star Miramonte Resort, our lodging destination for the next night.Meals included: Lunch & Dinner
Day 2 – Bike La Quinta Loop – up to 32 miles with 700 ft gain & loss, Hike West Side Loop Trail – 4 miles with 800 ft gain & loss
Today is another hybrid day – we’ll bike in the morning then hike in the afternoon. We’ll start with a relatively flat loop ride weaving among the many golf courses nearby Indian Wells. After lunch, we’ll swap our bike shoes for hiking boots. We walk a trail in the less-visited west side of Joshua Tree National Park which offers our first chance to hike among some of the park’s namesake flora. Tonight we’ll be staying at the historic Pioneertown Motel in a western town that was originally built in 1946 as a movie set. Hundreds of western films and TV shows have been filmed there including such notable actors as Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. We’ll enjoy dinner nearby at a famed local spot, Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, where many famous musicians have performed including Paul McCartney and Robert Plant. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 3 – Hike Lost Horse Mine Loop – 7 miles with 800 ft gain & loss, Optional Hike up Ryan Mountain – 3 miles with 1,100 ft gain & loss
After breakfast, we’ll drive into the heart of Joshua Tree National Park where we’ll enjoy a hike to one of the most productive gold mines in the area, the Lost Horse mine where over 5 decades in the 19th and 20th century it produced over 10,000 ounces of gold and 16,000 ounces of silver. Later we’ll drive to Keys View at 5,185 ft where you can take in a panoramic view of the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs and the 10,833 ft Mt San Jacinto in the distance. From there you have the option to head direct to our next lodging or stay in the park and continue on foot up Ryan Mountain at 5,458 ft where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Tonight’s dinner is at our rustic lodging and is sure to delight. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 4 – Bike Joshua Tree from Twentynine Palms to Mecca – up to 65 miles with 3,500 ft gain & 5,600 ft loss
This morning, after another delicious breakfast, you’ll pedal across Joshua Tree and beyond toward Mecca, a small city named for the holy land in the Middle East. After climbing back into the park you’ll be rewarded with more incredible vistas of the unique rock outcroppings for which Joshua Tree National Park is known and a sweet descent past many noteworthy sights including a field of cholla cactus. Along the way we’ll stop for lunch before continuing into what is arguably the best part of the ride, a stunning canyon descent on a lightly-trafficked road south of the park. As always on the biking days, the support van will be there to pick you up should you want a boost up a hill or be done riding for the day. From Mecca we’ll shuttle south to your new home, for the next two nights at least, in Borrego Springs, La Casa del Zorro. Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch
Day 5 – Bike Borrego Springs and the “Glass Elevator” – up to 45 miles with 4,300 ft gain & loss, Optional Slot Canyon Hike – 2 miles with 300 ft gain & loss
Today’s bike route begins with a flat loop past palm tree nurseries, citrus groves, and impressive display of whimsical metal sculptures commissioned by a charitable local landowner. After you are free to tackle as much as you like of the 11-mile climb up Montezuma Grade to the small high desert dwelling of Ranchita. Known as the “glass elevator” because of its unobstructed views of the desert floor, you’re sure to love the vista points along the way. After an epic descent, you are free to enjoy lunch on your own – a guide-favorite is a simple, but delicious, taco place in town. Return to your resort and savor the solitude of the desert poolside or join us for a short 2-mile hike to an impressive slot canyon – just barely wide enough to hike through in spots. We’ll spend the last night of our trip enjoying another fantastic group dinner. Don’t forget to look heavenward tonight as Borrego Springs is an internationally-recognized dark sky community that actively prevents light pollution and features some amazing stargazing as a result. Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Day 6 – Hike Borrego Palm Canyon – 3 miles with 500 ft gain & loss, Depart for Palm Springs
After another hearty breakfast we’ll shuttle to Anza-Borrego State Park where we’ll hike to a natural palm oasis, and, if mother nature is smiling upon us, a chance to see native bighorn sheep in their natural habitat. You’ll have some time back at the hotel to freshen up before check out. After a week in the California desert, it’s time to make the return journey to Palm Springs. Private limo and shuttle services are available from the end location to multiple destinations, with the Palm Springs Airport only 5 minutes away by car. Meals included: Breakfast
Miramonte Resort – 1 night
Evoking the sense of a grand estate, an expansive village of Tuscan tiled villas with grand archways and fine-crafted stonework are woven into 11 acres of lush citrus, rose and herb gardens.
Pioneertown Motel – 1 night
Built originally as a waypost for movie stars of old Westerns, Pioneertown Motel has stood since 1946 as a place for wearied travelers and sun-drunk revelers to seek solace and inspiration. Gene Autry played poker until sunrise in Room #9.
29 Palms Inn – 1 night
No room is alike, each with its own character and something different to offer. Their definition of amenities include views of the Oasis, a starry sky, peace and quiet, and having the space to disconnect and reconnect.
La Casa Del Zorro – 2 nights
A luxury resort nestled between the Anza-Borrego Desert and the foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains. The Resort boasts a full service spa, fine dining and comfortable accommodations.
Pricing & Inclusions
Trip Price Includes:
- Lodging as outlined in lodging section above based on double occupancy
- Meals as noted in itinerary above
- Non-optional activities as outlined in itinerary above
- Ride-friendly snacks and beverages throughout each day
- Hybrid or alloy road bike rental – carbon road bike or E-bike available for an upgrade fee
- Services of professional trip leader(s)
- Van support during the trip & porterage service
- Black Sheep Adventures reusable water bottle, wool (baaaah) socks & luggage tags
Trip Price Excludes:
- Pre & post tour travel
- Alcoholic beverages
- Optional activities such as spa treatments
- Gratuities for your BSA guides
Public Dates and Availability