The San Andreas Fault is one of, if not the most, famous fault line in the United States. Did you know you can see it up close and personal? Yep! Touring the San Andreas Fault is entirely possible! And today we set out to do just that. I was eager to explore just what the moving Pacific and North American Plates looks like. So we set out in open aired jeeps with a geological guide from the company, Red Jeep.
There’s a lot I loved about touring the San Andreas Fault. Aside from our knowledgable guide, and seeing the fault line up close I loved that this fun excursion only took a few hours out of our day. Even though it required waking up early (not my thing), it was well worth it. Alas, it’s the best time to go, before the desert gets unbearably hot.
This entire tour is extremely fascinating. Seeing an oasis in the middle of a dry desert is insane!
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 the 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 the 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! Ha! Nevertheless, you can always see where the actual fault line is based on the line of palm trees.
With this tour you get out of the jeep and literally walk and explore 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 – Earthquakes!). The 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 away from being anything close to outdoorsy (just ask what happened when we spotted a rattle snake), 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 do such things (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. We got to travel through the 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!
Definitely a fun tour for anyone visiting Palm Springs or the Palm Desert area!
Looking for where to stay in Palm Desert? Check out this post!