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près de La Quinta, California (United States)
The trail isn't particularly long, but it is steep. It's an elevation gain the entire time - from the parking lot at the trail head to just meters before the oasis. The terrain varies from easy packed sand and gravel in the cove park, to loose granite scree on the hilly parts. You'll want good shoes. Lastly, the exposure adds to the difficulty if it's a hot day. The trail has a North and East exposures - so you're in the direct sun the whole time until you hit the oasis. No trees on the trail and very little shade.
Park at the cove trailhead at the top on Calle Tecate. Head up the obvious trail and keep bearing right whenever the trail forks. You'll eventually reach a concrete/stone/debris water dike. You want to follow the Bear Creek stream bed up to the beginning of the Oasis trailhead. It will be to the right. There are maps near the parking lot and in the picnic area at the base of the large hill just after the beginning of your hike.
Take lots of water. I've seen surface water at the oasis on one of my trips, but it isn't reliable and certainly not safe to drink without treatment.
The trip up will alternate between views to the east towards the Salton Sea, North over La Quinta and into Joshua Tree Nat'l Park, and NW over Palm Desert and out over the windmills. It's got one or two incredible panorama points allowing you to sweep about 200 degrees across the Coachella Valley. Take a camera.
I recommend going in March or April. The temps are perfect and you'll likely see all the wildflowers blooming. If the ocotillo is in bloom, any time you stop and sit still, you'll get buzzed by hummingbirds.
I've twice seen Peninsula Big Horn Sheep while on this trail. Once was at a distance across Bear Creek. The other was less than 20 meters away and he had better than a full curl. Incredible. I've also seen plenty of hawks, owls, and snakes.
The oasis will just sort of appear before you when you take the last big curve on the hillside. There isn't much to see past the oasis and there is no trail. I would take my time exploring the palm forest. Take a pack hammock if you have one and string it up in the trees and take a nap in the shade. I like to feed the crows and Inca doves pieces of my trail mix (I know... I know... don't feed the wildlife).
All in all a great way to get away without getting too far away.
After hiking back down to your car, you can end your day in Old Town La Quinta. Just take Ave. Bermudas back down thru the Cove neighborhood and stop in the white stucco shopping area on Calle Tampico. You can get gelato in the ice cream shop there or frozen coffee drinks at Old Town Coffee Company. On Sundays there is a farmer's market until noon in Winter. Hogs Breath and Stuft Restaurants have excellent patios for a cold beer to wash down your hike.