Palm Canyon Creek flows from the edges of the San Jacinto and Santa Rose Mountains through an arid landscape of rugged canyons and ridges into the Coachella Desert. Congress added Palm Canyon Creek to the federal system in 2009, as part of an omnibus bill signed by President Obama that protected 105 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers and 750,000 acres of wilderness in California.
Palm Canyon Creek possesses outstandingly remarkable scenic, wildlife, botanical, and cultural values. The creek flows through rugged rocky canyons, over cascades, and past lush palm oases and riparian habitat. The creek sustains the largest fan palms oases in the nation and is a vital drinking water source for endangered bighorn sheep. Its riparian habitat supports numerous songbirds. Ultimately flowing into the Agua Caliente Reservation, Palm Canyon Creek has been central to culture and life of the Cahuilla Indians for centuries. The lower stream segment on the Reservation is a popular tourist attraction in the Palm Springs region.