The San Andreas Fault is one of, if not the most, infamous fault line in the United States. Better yet, did you know you can see it up close and personal? Yes, touring the San Andreas Fault is entirely possible!
There’s a lot I loved about touring the San Andreas Fault, aside from our knowledgable guide (and the fact that we got to see the San Andreas Fault line up close)! Even more, I adored that this only took a few hours out of our day, and even though it required waking up early (not my specialty), it was well worth it.
Morning really is the best time to go (before the desert gets unbearably hot).
If I had to sum up the San Andreas Fault in one word, it would be fascinating. Seeing an oasis in the middle of a dry desert is simply, well, fascinating. It’s definitely not something I expected to see.
Truth be told, I wasn’t sure what the fault line would look like. Essentially, it’s a crack in the ground – an oasis, deeper in some parts than others – with beautiful, natural water and palm trees. Yes, you read that – palm trees. In the middle of the desert. How you ask? Well, movement underground causes water to rise and creates a beautiful, palm-tree supporting environment. The surrounding area is completely rugged, due to the pressure from the fault, which causes hills to rise. If that’s not basic geology coming from me, I don’t know what is. Those of you who know me should be impressed! Nevertheless, you can always see where the fault line is based on the line of palm trees.
I also loved that we were able to get out of our vehicle and literally walk the fault.
This my friends, is the Pacific plate on one side and the North American plate on the other:
Here’s an up close look at the water being pushed up from the ground. Those tiny, small green things sticking up are baby palm trees. I had no idea they started out so small!
The portion of the San Andreas Fault we visited is on land once owned by the Cahuilla tribe. These pioneers settled here because of the beautiful oasis’ the fault provides (until, you know, they discovered what created these beautiful areas and their result – Earthquakes!!). A tour company owns this land now (it’s called the Metate Canyon Ranch, an exclusive 1,000-acre desert preserve), and they do a great job in re-creating the early settlements, even down to filling them with artifacts and other interesting items. Our guide even showed us how a piece of a palm tree was once used to make rope. I’m so far from being anything close to the outdoorsy type (just ask the group what happened when we spotted a rattle snake in the wild), so watching her do this in two seconds really impressed me.
Also found on the ranch are old gold mines. It is now a new goal of mine to go down into a mine. Unfortunately, places don’t really allow visitors to go down (for insurance purposes, I’m sure), so I’m on the hunt and open to suggestions!
The third part of the tour takes guests into the Indio Hills and all around the rough landscape, through narrow canyons that the fault is responsible for. The shapes are constantly changing, between the earth’s movement and powerful rain. It’s such a gorgeous place!
Then, we got to get out of the jeep again and walk through the narrow canyons!
Definitely a fun tour for anyone visiting Palm Springs or the Palm Desert area! Looking on where to stay in Palm Desert? Check out this post!