You might wonder where this stunning canyon got its name - the Native American legend of Tahquitz tells of a powerful first shaman brought to life by "the creator of all things", Mukat. The story varies, but generally Tahquitz was a good leader who eventually became selfish, using his power over the Cahuillas for evildoing. After it was discovered that he was killing the tribe's maidens, the people exiled him, and he lived in a cave in the San Jacinto Mountains; that area is now called Tahquitz Peak. The legend states that his angry spirit - sometimes seen as a green fireball streaking across the sky - still lives and causes earthquakes and rock falls in the canyon.
When you hike in Tahquitz Canyon, you'll be treated to a wide variety of beautiful native flowers and desert plants, from Mormon Tea and White Sage to cacti and Desert Apricot trees. The canyon hike is a two-mile loop, and one of the highlights is the beautiful 50-foot high waterfall. You can get a map at the trail head that shows eight more well-marked points of interest including an enormous sacred rock with ancient paintings.
The canyon and trail are very well maintained, and you'll even find charming bridges to get you across some waterways. The trail rises about 300 feet, but steps have been carved into the rock, so it's all accessible. You'll also come across a small manmade waterfall and beautiful vistas, so bring your camera and get ready for a rewarding and wonderful day!
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