Touring the San Andreas Fault

The big fault that is - The San Andreas Fault.  This is one of the best-known geological features in all of North America.  The San Andreas is a continental rift that has been blamed for plenty of California’s earthquakes.  While it’s easy to study the science of this tear in the earth’s crust, did you know that you can actually visit it on your trip to Palm Springs?  That’s right. A portion of this tear in the earth’s crust is just a few miles from Palm Springs.

Visiting the San Andreas Fault is easy.  The simplest way is by car (no 4 WD necessary), and a short hike from many public roads, sections of National Parks or Forests, or on BLM land.  There are hundreds of miles of scenic roads where you can view the wildlife and vegetation that lives on the fault and rock formations from the movement.  If you want a more intense visit, there are places on the Morongo Indian Reservation or the San Bernardino Mountains where you can day hike or do a backpacking trip.


It’s easy to find the fault, but not so easy to view.  There hasn’t been a major ground-rupturing earthquake since 1906.  Much of the devastation from that quake has been erased by time leaving behind just a subtle surface trace.  But you can spot the landforms that have been created by the plate movement.  We definitely recommend a guided tour though as they can point out the things to look for as well as provide the history of the fault line.  There are several tours available, and most range from 2-4 hours and include lunch.  Here are some of the most popular:


Big Wheel Tours


As you visit the backcountry trails of a Bureau of Land Management wilderness zone you will see what has been called “the most torture landscape on earth”.  On the drive to and from the backcountry, you will also see the Coachella Valley’s $500 million+ agriculture industry.  Abundant native desert plants and animal life, fascinating geology, and sheer canyons are just some of the highlights of this tour.

Desert Adventures Red Jeep Tours


Their signature and most popular option is the San Andreas Fault “Bones of the Earth” Jeep tour.  Their expert naturalist guide will take you on a journey through the heart of the San Andreas Fault.  Walk between narrow slot canyon walls, explore a natural palm oasis, and tour a recreated Cahuilla Indian Village.

If you need help booking one of these, please contact the front desk to make arrangements during your stay.