Hiking News

Friends of the Desert Mountains keep our hiking trails clean, safe

Sandie Newton speaks with Friends of the Desert Mountains volunteer Gordon Fidler.

We see them every day in all their spectacular glory, rising from the desert floor majestically towards the heavens. Beautiful mountain ranges surround our gorgeous valley. They are breathtaking and iconic and attract visitors from around the globe, inspiring outdoor enthusiasts, conservationists, adventurists, artists and dreamers.

Those of us who live here are fortunate to have these glorious backdrops to not only gaze upon but to hike and explore and discover treasures. But who looks out for and maintains some of their most important and accessible trails?

Since 1987, the Friends of the Desert Mountains have maintained and watched over many of the popular areas found just a few miles up highway 74 in Palm Desert. The nonprofit was formed by a group of concerned citizens who were determined to help protect the conservation land resources of the Coachella Valley.

Friends of the Desert Mountains volunteer Gordon Fidler and Director of Education Oscar Ortiz work to maintain trail areas.

With offices located next to the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains, high above downtown El Paseo, the many “Friends” gather at National Monument Visitor Center with rakes and shovels and take to the trails to maintain and keep safe the conditions of the many hikable areas.

Thanks to their efforts, there are many hiking options with varying degrees of difficulty. From the most challenging trails devoted to experienced hikers to a beautifully created short trail modified and made accessible for wheelchairs, walkers and stroller access, all are overseen and maintained by the Friends of the Desert Mountain’s passionate volunteers like Gordon Fidler, a retired chef who discovered this passion for the outdoors eight years ago.

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