Touring the San Andreas Fault

by Michael Satterfield

Palm Springs is a mecca to visitors from around the world for the resorts, entertainment, and natural wonders. From Joshua Tree National Park to the San Andreas Fault to the Salton Sea the Palm Springs area has so many outdoor activities to offer the adventurous.

I linked up with Big Wheel Tours, who has been giving guides geological and off-road tours in the area for nearly 20 years. The advantage to taking a Jeep tour with Big Wheel Tours is the size of the group, just 3-5 people and a tour guide, so you don't miss anything the guide is saying.

Included with your booking is:

  • Hotel Pickup and Dropoff available from many area resorts.
  • Expert Guides
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • All Entry and Permit Fees
I opted for the San Andreas Fault Jeep Tour, exploring the geology of one of the world's most active fault lines. Geologists have called it ”the most tortured landscape on earth” as you visit the backcountry trails of a Bureau of Land Management Wilderness zone. My guide arrived right on time and picked me up at the Hard Rock Hotel in downtown Palm Springs.

Sheer canyon walls, unique geology formations, and a hidden oasis teeming with desert life are all things you will enjoy on this tour. Hiking at several stops along the route is optional, but I would encourage you to do it if you are capable, our group hiked into a deep canyon that only looked like it was made out of stone, when in reality it was dried mud and with the next rainstorm the entire canyon would be reshaped.  Looking out between the canyon walls, off in the distance, the Salton Sea could be seen, another unique feature of this harsh desert landscape.

On the way back to Palm Springs we passed through the Coachella Valley and our guide pointed out the different types of agriculture that were being cultivated there and gave us a history lesson the world famous dates.

Tours start at just $169 per person and last approximately 4 hours making it the perfect excursion for a morning or afternoon adventure.

For more information on the other tours available from Big Wheel Tours or to book your own adventure visit