West Fork Falls

Agua Caliente Indian Reservation / Palm Springs, California, USA

About West Fork Falls


Hiking Distance: 1/4-mile round trip
Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Date first visited: 2017-02-11
Date last visited: 2017-02-11

Waterfall Latitude: 33.73729
Waterfall Longitude: -116.54065

West Fork Falls was a bit of an unexpected waterfall surprise for us as we weren’t aware of its existence when we planned for a recent Palm Springs trip in 2017.

However, when we noticed this waterfall on the trail map handed to us by the Indian Canyons kiosk as well as some of the map signs in the nearby Murray Canyon, we figured that we mind as well check this place out.

West_Fork_Falls_021_02112017 - West Fork Falls
West Fork Falls

It turned out that visiting this waterfall was quite easy as it was probably about a short quarter-mile or less hike from the parking lot at the Trading Post by Palm Canyon (see directions below).

The excursion itself probably took me around 15-30 minutes total, which included the picture taking.

Meanwhile, the West Fork Falls consisted of three short tiers of around 5-15ft each.

Given its healthy flow, I was surprised that how few people bothered to check out this falls as it sat just on the other side of the Trading Post from the scenic Palm Canyon, where most of the visitors seemed to be.

West_Fork_Falls_004_02112017 - Most of the people visiting the Trading Post were primarily after the attractive Palm Canyon, and that left the West Fork Falls to be pretty quiet
Most of the people visiting the Trading Post were primarily after the attractive Palm Canyon, and that left the West Fork Falls to be pretty quiet

As for experiencing the falls, I basically walked towards the far end of the parking lot by the Trading Post.

Near the restrooms, there was a sign for “West Fork Falls” so I knew I was in the right spot.

The trail then rounded a bend before descending towards the West Fork where I was able to look against the afternoon sun towards the waterfalls themselves.

However, I wasn’t able to get a clean look at the full context of the falls given the sizes of the rocks and trees obstructing the views of most of the falls.

West_Fork_Falls_009_02112017 - Context of the California Fan Palms and giant boulders concealing most of the West Fork Falls when seen from afar
Context of the California Fan Palms and giant boulders concealing most of the West Fork Falls when seen from afar

So I went closer to the creek, where I saw that there was a “hole” I was able to scramble through, which brought me right in between the uppermost and middle tier of the West Fork Falls.

This little “secluded” spot was a great place to listen to the rushing water while watching the incident light from the late afternoon sun causing the surrounding rocks to glow softly.

Authorities

West Fork Falls is on private property in Palm Springs of Riverside County, California. It is administered by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation. For information or inquiries about the general area as well as current conditions, you may want to try visiting their website.

West_Fork_Falls_001_02112017 - Looking back towards the entrance of the car park by the Trading Post before starting on the short hike to West Fork Falls
West_Fork_Falls_007_02112017 - The sign at the far end of the parking lot for the Trading Post directing me to the West Fork Falls
West_Fork_Falls_008_02112017 - After rounding a bend, the trail to the West Fork Falls continued past these giant rocks
West_Fork_Falls_010_02112017 - Closer look at the middle and lower tiers of West Fork Falls though they were difficult to see given the big boulders in the way
West_Fork_Falls_016_02112017 - One of the drops of the West Fork Falls as seen in February 2017
West_Fork_Falls_022_02112017 - This was the hole that I was able to scramble through to get right up to a 'secluded' spot before the uppermost of the West Fork Falls
West_Fork_Falls_024_02112017 - Looking downstream from the West Fork Falls
West_Fork_Falls_025_02112017 - Looking back towards the West Fork Falls with someone inside the jumble of large rocks to get a closer look at it
West_Fork_Falls_029_02112017 - Last look back at the West Fork Falls surrounded by a handful of California Fan Palms in February 2017
West_Fork_Falls_036_02112017 - Looking down at the road leading up to the Trading Post from the parking lot closest to the West Fork Falls
West_Fork_Falls_037_02112017 - We had some time to check out the Palm Canyon after having our fill of the West Fork Falls in February 2017
West_Fork_Falls_038_02112017 - Looking down towards the mouth of the aptly-named Palm Canyon after having our fill of the West Fork Falls
West_Fork_Falls_039_02112017 - Contextual look at Palm Canyon's California Fan Palm Trees with people within for a sense of scale of how large the trees are
West_Fork_Falls_042_02112017 - Looking towards the trading post by the West Fork Falls
West_Fork_Falls_044_02112017 - Another look back at the trading post by the West Fork Falls during our visit in February 2017

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To reach West Fork Falls from the intersection of North Palm Canyon Drive, South Palm Canyon Drive, and Tahquitz Canyon Way in downtown Palm Springs, we drove south on South Palm Canyon Drive for about 1.5 miles.

We then kept right at the fork in the road to remain on South Palm Canyon Drive and drove for the next 2.7 miles to the Indian Canyons kiosk, where we paid our $9 per adult fee (as of 2017) to get in.

West_Fork_Falls_002_02112017 - The Trading Post by West Fork Falls in the Indian Canyons
The Trading Post by West Fork Falls in the Indian Canyons

Then, we drove straight past the next junction and continued for another 2 miles or so as the road eventually ended at a parking area besides the Trading Post.

In addition to acting as the trailhead for West Fork Falls, it was also the viewpoint and trailhead for Palm Canyon on the other side of the Trading Post.

For context, Palm Springs was roughly 2 hours drive east of downtown Los Angeles pretty much along the I-10 Freeway before heading south on the Hwy 111 just past Cabazon and the Morongo Casino.

Starting with the full obstructed context of West Fork Falls before scrambling closer to see all of its different tiers including going through a little hole leading right to the base of the uppermost of the falls


360 degree sweep showing the little spot between the topmost and middle falls

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Tagged with: palm canyon, west fork, trading post, palm springs, waterfall, riverside county, agua caliente, indian canyons, san jacinto, oasis, desert



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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