Ladder Canyon Hike: Palm Desert, California
Back during New Years weekend, my family and I road tripped to Phoenix, Arizona to attend the college football playoffs (go Clemson). I was hoping to do a post about the road trip, but between Los Angeles and Arizona there is a whole lot of nothing. Absolutely nothing. I entertained myself by finding the different Snapchat filters along the way...and this:
On the way back to LA, Jacob and I stopped in Palm Desert for a day to go hiking! I had done the Ladder Canyon hike once before and it is one of my favorite hikes I have ever done! I couldn't wait to take my boyfriend. This hike is unique because you walk through a narrow canyon in the mountains, which eventually takes you to the top for some amazing views. It is called Ladder Canyon because there are several ladders placed throughout the hike to help you get from one level to the next...This is a photo from the first time I did the hike, and right about now I am really jealous of my legs circa 2014.
Now...here is where things get interesting for us. When we got to the entrance of the hike, we accidentally went through the wrong canyon!! I should have called this post "Rope Course Canyon Hike" because instead of ladders, there were ropes throughout the hike. Even though we didn't actually hike Ladder Canyon, I still wanted to share because the hike we did was still super fun, but a lot more challenging.
So I found out that the key to making sure you enter the right slot is to look for the arrow made of rocks! At the entrance of the hike, you have to veer to the left. We went to the left too early and completely missed the arrow. You want to keep going farther into the "wide part" and then turn left into the "narrow part" off the main canyon. Make sense? I hope so! And if you are making your way through the canyon and you come to a rope hanging from a rock, you are not in Ladder Canyon.
I should have trusted my instincts and turned around at this point, but the two groups in front of us decided to keep going, so we just did too. This first rope climb is not too bad, but it is a bit taller than it looks.
The slots are very narrow! The group in front of us wasn't even able to get through some of the crevices with their backpacks on.
If you do plan on hiking the "Rope Course Canyon," make sure to wear pants, long sleeves and gloves if possible. We were both wearing long sleeves, but we still got a little bit scratched up during our climb up and down. Also, all of the experienced groups who had done this hike before brought gloves with them. This makes going up and down the ropes a lot safer!
Also, DO NOT go by yourself! Especially if you are not an experienced hiker. When we got to this super tall rope climb, I was nervous. Thankfully Jacob talked me through the climb up and told me where to put my feet. But I thought the climb down was so scary! I instantly had flashbacks of when I cried climbing to the top of the grain bin on his family's farm. Yes, cried (I don't like ladders). But it was mind over matter on this one! By the time we were going back down the hike, there were 6 of us and we all spotted each other.
That's about it! I am hoping to go back soon to do the actual Ladder Canyon hike. But if you like a little danger and adventure, the rope one was still very cool. The one thing I liked about the Ladder Canyon one instead is the beautiful view from the top, and you can make a loop back to the entrance through Painted Canyon. The "Rope Canyon" is just there and back.