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Warm up to Palm Springs as a winter getaway destination

Palm Springs, California, is a favorite winter getaway destination for active Southern Nevadans, because it’s only about four hours away and there are lots of outdoor activities to enjoy.

You can hike, golf, swim and even play in the snow all in the same day.

One of the best places to hike is the Indian Canyons, managed by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, whose ancestors settled Palm Springs. Located just a few minutes from town, the reservation contains 32,000 acres, 6,700 within the city limits, with other parcels nearby.

There are four main canyons: Palm, Andreas, Murray and Tahquitz, all home to the California fan palm (Washingtonia filifera), and many other indigenous plants.

Traditionally, these canyons provided everything the Cahuilla needed to live off the land. They had plenty of water, an abundance of wild game and more than 200 different plants to use for food, medicine, clothing and shelter.

If you only have time to hike one trail, I recommend Andreas Canyon. It is the second-largest canyon, and there is an easy trail between the palm-covered banks of Andreas Creek and the steep rocky cliffs. It’s a moderate hike for most people, but it does have uneven footing and some drop-offs, so very young children need to be watched.

Palm Springs hosts Village Fest from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursdays. This street fair is fun for all ages with both visitors and locals strolling the arts, crafts and food booths and plenty of entertainment along the way. It takes place downtown on Palm Canyon Drive.

If you’re in town Friday through Jan. 13, be sure to catch the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

Another great activity is taking the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (pstramway.com) into the San Jacinto Mountains. This is the world’s largest rotating tram and travels 2½ miles up through Chino Canyon from Valley Station at 2,643 feet to Mountain Station at 8,516 feet. It’s a safe ride and has carried millions of people over the years, but it’s not for the faint of heart, as the tram sometimes swings at the upper towers.

Once off the tram, you’ll find two restaurants, observation decks, a gift shop and miles of trails. Visitors can just relax and take in the far-reaching views of the valley below or head out the back door to hike some trails or maybe enjoy a winter wonderland this time of year.

You can throw some snowballs or make snow angels or even go tubing, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. When there is adequate snow, the Winter Adventure Center is open and rents gear Fridays through Sundays.

Be sure to wear warm clothes, hats and mittens and appropriate footwear as you can expect temperatures 30 to 40 degrees cooler than in Palm Springs, where the average daily high in January and February is in the low 70s, but temperatures can dip into the 40s at night.

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