Hike the South Lykken Trail to Picnic Area

San Diego South Lykken Trail

Added by Nick Tort

Outstanding desert and valley views, rocky hillsides, picnic table area at the summit and a birds eye view of Tahquitz Canyon waterfall.

The South Lykken Trail is the south half of the 9.5-mile Carl Lykken Trail, which weaves along a series of mountain ridges above downtown Palm Springs.

This section of the trail runs 4.4 miles one-way. You will gain just over 1000ft of elevation at the highest point and descend down. It’s a moderate point-to-point hill of a hike - enough to get the blood flowing, but not enough to be huffing it up, missing out on soaking in the many scenic views. Very well maintained trail, very easy to follow, with no offshoots. The north end of the trail starts at the west end of Mesquite Road, just south of downtown Palm Springs off South Palm Canyon Drive. There is no parking available at this location, but there is on-street parking near the turnoff from South Palm Canyon Drive. Park and walk along the road to the trailhead.

On the top sits 2 sets of picnic tables, which set the scene for a perfect picnic getaway. There is no shade, so bring plenty of water, and rock a hat!

Starting this hike just before sunset will expose you to the growing shadows along the valley floor and changing colors of the sky - bring a headlamp if heading out this time of day (it’s worth it). The trail is flat and smooth with an easy enough incline grade to make this a trail run for anybody looking for that abuse.

If you wanted to complete the Carl Lykken in it’s entirety, you will need to shuttle to the North Lykken Trail because it is separated by Taqhuitz Canyon.

Pack List

  • Plenty of H20 and trail snacks
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Fitness, Hiking, Running

Skill Level:



Spring, Autumn, Winter

Trail Type:



4.4 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1000 Feet



Dog Friendly
Picnic Area

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

9 months ago

Noise Pollution Potential

If you need to get out and stretch your legs, this is a good one. It's a quick hike up to picnic benches. We continued up to the peak which had great views of a little waterfall. That said, a construction site below was blaring music, dance party Kesha style, blah, the entire time. We quickly realized why we had this trail to ourselves.

9 months ago

Added by Nick Tort

I love to share what I find along the way so that others may experience the same joys. Sometimes my words fall short, but a photo can tell the story for me.

More Adventures Nearby

Hike the Calcite Mine Trail in the Anza-Borrego Desert

San Diego / Calcite Mine Road Lookout

Open from March until October - but I would not particularly recommend this hike in the summer months, unless you started in the wee almost dark hours.

Fern Koan
14 Saves

Catch a Sunset at Twin Peaks Mountain

San Diego / Silverset Park

Start by parking at Silverset Park. You will see the trail head for Twin Peaks just behind the park.

Alex Seger
11 Saves

Hike to Crystal Cave

San Diego / Crystal Cave Trailhead

Starting at 8100 Mesa road, you will see parking along the side of the road in a few places, take advantage where you find it.  Pass over the trail gate that marks the start of the journey.

Alex Seger
9 Saves