The Art Smith Trail is a strenuous 8.3 mile hike, with an elevation change of 1,465 feet.
This is truly one of the signature trails in the National Monument, offering scenic views across the Coachella Valley to the Little San Bernardino Mountains and Joshua Tree National Park, and over the bustling cities of Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage. Hikers escape the sights and sounds of the urban area as the trail climbs through hidden canyons and alongside lush palm oases. Although the oases beckon, stick close to the trail to avoid disturbing desert animals that depend on these vital habitats.
Named for the longtime trail boss of the Desert Riders equestrian club, the Art Smith Trail starts at Highway 74 near the Visitor Center. You’ll gain more than 1,400 feet in 8.3 miles, then come to the trail’s intersection with Dunn Road, but don’t expect to be picked up here as the road is closed to vehicle traffic. To travel another 8 miles to Palm Springs, pick up the Hahn Buena Vista Trail followed by the Wild Horse and Garstin Trails. Or you can descend to Cathedral City by way of Dunn Road and Cathedral Canyon Trail.