The hike to Murray Hill climbs 2500ft on a 7.5-mile round trip journey with beautiful views of San Jacinto Peak, seasonal wildflowers, the occasional bighorn sheep, and views of the greater Palm Springs area. The hike begins on the Garstin Trail near the Indian Canyons Golf Resort, and then heads east to link up with the Clara Burgess Trail before reaching Murray Hill.
Getting There: Directions And GPS Track
- The trailhead for this hike to the top of Murray Peak is located on Barona Rd in southern Palm Springs. You’ll start out at the Garstin Trailhead and connect with the Clara Burgess Trail midway. The trailhead is about 15 minutes southeast of downtown Palm Springs: Palm Springs, CA 92264
- Download GPX
- See track on Strava
- Distance: 7.50 miles
- Elevation Gain: 2562 ft
- Minimum Elevation: 520 ft
- Maximum Elevation: 2210 ft
- Time: 3-5 hours
- Difficulty: (2.5/5)
- Dog Friendly: No
- Permit Required: No
- Parking: Small cul-de-sac turnout near trailhead
- Water: No water sources
- Weather: Very hot in the summer months, only advisable from September to May. Do not attempt this hike without plenty of water.
- Trail Condition: This trail is mostly single track with rocky patches
- Cell Phone Reception: Very good
Do you have the appropriate gear for this hike? Don’t hike unprepared!
See my current hiking gear list.
Hike Map And Elevation Profile
0.0 Miles (520 ft)- Starting from Barona Road, head north towards the dead end and you’ll see the Garstin Trail.
The Garstin Trail begins to climb uphill quickly, so make sure you’re stretched out and ready to go from the onset of this hike. You’ll gain roughly 1000 ft of elevation in the first mile!
There are a few trail junctions early on in this hike that are very easy to navigate. Just follow the signage for the Garstin Trail.
As soon as you begin to gain a little elevation, the views of San Jacinto Peak to the west and Palm Springs to the north will really open up.
As you continue to climb uphill you’ll get your first views of Palm Springs’ low lying hills. There are a lot of them in this area, so prepare your mind to encounter 2-3 false peaks before finally reaching Murray Hill.
1.0 Miles (1431 ft)- As you reach the first mile, you’ll hit the crest of your first climb and have a nice flat and downhill section to recover. You’ll see a rock outcrop to the north and a junction towards it called Berns Trail. Make sure to stay right at this junction and follow the sign for Clara Burgess. For the Berns Trail hike, see my guide.
As you follow the sign for Clara Burgess Trail, you’ll get your first views of Murray Peak and the steep climbs that lay before you. Enjoy this nice flat section and get ready for the climbing up ahead.
There are a few junction during this flat stretch. Make sure to stay right at each one and continue on Clara Burgess.
1.7 Miles (1320 ft)- When the flat stretch ends, you’ll quickly start climbing again. In the next half mile, you’ll gain 600 ft of elevation, reaching another false summit.
2.8 Miles (1750 ft)- On the other end of the false summit, you’ll reach your final trail junction of the hike. You’ll want to keep straight here and follow the signs for Clara Burgess Trail.
As you make your way around a rocky outcrop of trail, you’ll get your first clear views of Murray Hill. You’ll be able to see the final switchback that leads to the rocky knoll at the peak.
3.7 Miles (2210 ft)- The views from Murray Hill are stunning, with clear sights of Palm Springs, San Gorgonio Mountain, and San Jacinto Peak. You an also see a large part of the greater trail network in the area.
Once you’ve spent enough time at the summit, you can return the trailhead using the same path your used to arrive at the summit of Murray Hill.
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2 thoughts on “Hiking to Murray Hill (Peak) via Garstin and Clara Burgess Trails – Palm Springs, CA”
Great article! I’ve done that hike a bunch of times, I love it. Looking at your pics I remember how green it was then thanks to the record rainfall we had here in SoCal. I lead hikes in the area during tourist season, checkout my hikes on facebook.com/TrailAhead