Dos Palmas and San Andreas Springs – Mecca, California - Atlas Obscura

Dos Palmas and San Andreas Springs

These lush groves of fan palms rise up like oases out of southern California's Colorado Desert. 

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Minutes from the mightily saline Salton Sea, there are clusters of palm trees swaying in the desert. 

Both San Andreas Springs and its neighbor, Dos Palmas Preserve, evoke secret gardens, filled with nothing but native California fan palms (Washingtonia filifera) whose dead fronds fall down like shaggy skirts. They flourish here because of easy access to water from springs and the Coachella Canal.

The 1,400-acre property is under the care of the Bureau of Land Management, but anyone can wander around the groves of towering trees. They’re giant, rustling, and often heavy with the berries that Cahuilla people have used to make jams and jellies. 

As you explore the damp, earthy oases, keep your eyes and ears peeled for the Yuma clapper rail and other creatures that call this place home. After an afternoon amid the trees, you may wish you could say the same for yourself.

Know Before You Go

The site is open to visitors, but please respect the marked paths. Park your car in the designated area, and then follow the trail. 

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