Hiking Flag Mountain in Desert Edge

Flag Mountain hike is located in Desert Edge. Desert Edge is an unincorporated community in Riverside County, California, just outside of Desert Hot Springs. The summit could be seen from Sam’s Family Spa Hot Water Resort, where we stay since November.

I’m not sure whether the name Flag Mountain is an official name. It doesn’t appear so but it is known to locals here. David found posts that Nina of Wheelingit wrote about this hike (here and here) so we used them to get an idea of how to look for the trail and off we went. At the bottom of this post I included information about how to locate the beginning of the trail near the hill.

Indigo bush (with some yellow flowers I couldn’t find the name) was still blooming here.
Barrel cactus was in bloom.
Flag Mountain Trail on a beautiful day with San Jacinto Mountains in the background
Our destination is on the top of this picture. You can see two flags on the mountaintop.

If you hike this trail, it’s a good idea to bring hiking poles. Some sections of the trail were steep and slippery. We were glad we brought ours.

Some sections of the trail were a bit steep and loose footing. We were grateful for the poles, especially on the way down.
Our destination (two flags) is on the right. Another summit (one flag) is on the left.
Taking photo before having snacks. The backlit flags were quite stunning.

There’s a summit register in an ammunition box at the top. The view of the Coachella Valley and the surrounding mountains at the summit was beautiful. It was wonderful to have such a nice hike next to where we stay. After having snacks, we headed back down.

The other summit with a single flag. We didn’t hike there. Probably another half mile or so.
Hiking back
This Chuckwalla was molting. I didn’t bring a camera with a large zoom with me on this hike. This was the best that iPhone could do using a digital zoom.

The tricky part of the hike is to find the beginning of the trail. Below is a map of the track of our return to Sam’s. I recommend this route if you start from Sam’s. If you start from other places, locate the cut-off point from Hacienda Avenue marked on the map, then follow the route on the map. As with many roads in the deserts that seem to show up on the map but not really there, this section of Hacienda Avenue is not really a road yet. It is just a dirt track through the desert, but easy enough to spot. The GPS coordinate of the cut-off point on the map is 33.93441, -116.43182. The trail from the cut-off point to the start of the climb was more like a faint path. If you couldn’t locate it, just walk toward the hill north of you.

Flag Mountain Trail starting from Sam’s Family Spa

As you approach the hill, you’ll see that someone has put a small flag on the top of the lower ridge in the front, don’t climb up there. The actual trail is off to your left. You’ll go around behind the lower ridge in the front. I took a photo below as we went around the lower ridge looking back at Sam’s direction (southeast).

Trail from the cut-off is a faint trail on the right. The lower ridge with the small flag is on the left.
  • Date hiked: April 4, 2017
  • Hiking time: 3h 29m
  • Distance: Approx. 5.0 mi round-trip (out and back)
  • Elevation change: Approx. 1,000 ft gain


4 thoughts on “Hiking Flag Mountain in Desert Edge

    1. I guess because there are a lots of Canadian snowbirds in this area. I saw a whole bunch of license plates from BC, AB, and even some from SK. The flags look quite new, so someone must have recently replaced them. I thought it was so cool.

      Liked by 1 person

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