The Coachella Valley became a favorite rest and relaxation destination for western movie riders back in the 1930s. Those riders, along with early Valley residents, wanted to create better riding opportunities for the community. Click on the following links to read articles about our great trails and discover more about those who made them happen:

Desert Riders & Desert Riders Trail Foundation

BLM References for the Monument FEIS


Pre-DTC: It all began with the Desert Riders, back in 1931. That’s when the club was formed. There wasn’t much need for trails however. Horses and riders could go pretty much wherever they wanted. But with Coachella Valley development, signing and maintaining trails became more important – to keep having “just plain good fun.”* 


So in 1972 the Desert Riders Trails Fund was created and many of the famous trails aroud the Valley became official: trails such as the Clara Burgess, Art Smith, Boo Hoff and Lykken Trails – 28 trails in total. This was all done with the great help of the Cahuilla Indians and contributions from the surrounding desert cities and government land owners.


In 1993, $400,000 of developer mitigation fees was given to theTrails Council, an off-shoot of the Desert Riders Trail Fund. Those funds were earmarked for trail development and trail maintenance. In 2001 the Trails Council was disolved and DTC was formed, taking over much of the Trails Coucil’s mission and even a little of that funding.

In the spring of 2012, Chuck Nisbett, President of DTC, met with Jim Foote, the BLM lands manager of the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains National Monument, to identify how best to tackle the expanding problem of trail shortcuts in the Monument and elsewhere in and around the Coachella Valley. From that meeting arose a concerted community effort to address those problems one trail at a time on a priority basis. Key components of that effort:

  • Volunteer Coordination will be handled by FODM/DTC, working with both DTC member trail user clubs and the general public. Individual participation is welcom and can be initiated through the “Participate” link included here.
  • Management Oversight while working on the trails will be handled by FODM, which will require each participant to complete and sign a “Volunteer” document with the FODM. This structure keeps all liability and performance issues under the purview of FODM and BLM rather than under the DTC or any of the trail user clubs. FODM will also be responsible for ensuring authorized access to private and municipal lands upon which participants might be working.

DTC Today: DTC is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. All Board members are volunteers so all donations and funding fully support trail issue resolution and improvements. Board members individually, and as representatives of DTC, have excellent relationships with those representing the owners of land upon which our trails have been built. Funding for trail work is often provided by those land owners and DTC helps in the planning and implementation of those funded projects.


Early Trails:

Salt Song and other trails in and around the Coachella Valley were used by the Cahuilla and Southern Paiute for trading, social and religious purposes.

The First Multi-Use Desert Riders Trail was The Clara Burgess Trail was a 50th wedding anniversary present from her husband Bill.