Skiing Big Bear is only about a 2 hour drive and has two complete mountains for great skiing and boarding. A free shuttle can take you between the two mountains and the runs range from complete beginner to double black diamond with steeps and canyons. Bear mountain’s Peak Elevation is 8,805 ft with a Vertical Drop of 1,665 ft and its longest run is 1.5 miles.  It is known for its park design and development with 14 terrain parks and 3 pipes regularly enjoyed by boarders and skiers alike, and regularly appears in the top of ski and snowboard resort polls. Snow Summit mountain’s Peak Elevation is 8,200 ft with a Vertical Drop: 1,200 ft and its longest run is 1.25 miles, and with an extensive snow making system boasts the most dependable snow conditions in Southern California.

Summer at Big Bear - During the summer Big Bear offers mountain biking, hiking, fishing and has a 7-mile Lake that is available for wakeboard, paddleboard, jet-ski and waterski rides. Rent kayaks, canoes or pedal boats or even try sky-high parasailing.

Hiking - The area surrounding Sun City Palm Desert offers seemingly unending hiking opportunities for hikers of all abilities and experience, the nearby Coachella Valley Preserve, the popular “Bump and Grind” trail, the Living Desert Wilderness Loop Trail, Joshua Tree National Park offers short walks and nature trails, moderate and challenging hikes, Mt. San Jacinto State Park at the top of the Tram offers 54 miles of hiking trails located within a 14,000 acre pristine wilderness, BLM has miles and miles of trails of all levels open to the public at no charge, the Indian Canyons, the “Slot Canyon” or The Painted Canyon” both near the Salton Sea, and so many, many more places offer amazing hiking opportunities. You can explore these hikes on your own, with friends or with the Sun City Palm Desert Hiking Club. Just remember to always stay safe, bring lots of water and let someone know where you are going hiking.

Racing – Whether you just want to be a spectator or a participator, Sun City Residents can enjoy a multitude of walking, running and biking events. From a charity Walk, a 5k run, a 6k  uphill run/walk, a half or full marathon, a triathlon, an Ironman competition to the 102 mile Tour De Palm Springs annual cycling event you will have many different events to choose from.

Ice Skating & Hockey - Yes you can ice skate all year long in our desert. The Desert Ice Castle that offered this for years has unfortunately fell victim to the pandemic and has closed. But by late 2022 the new Sports Arena and Ice Hockey facility will open with a practice rink open to the community and home to the Coachella Valley Firebirds, the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken.

Surfing - Surfing in the Pacific Ocean is only about a 2 hour drive, but construction is underway for a nearby surf club with a state-of-the-art wave pool that will also include a lazy river, restaurant, spa, stage area and bar. It will be only about a 25 minute drive and plans to open during the summer 2022. Also, DSRT Surf, a "world-class" surf  resort right in Palm Desert has been approved to include a 5.5-acre surf lagoon with restaurants, bars, sand beach area, pickleball courts, sand volleyball and other activities. The surf lagoon will be open to the public with technology that makes it something for all skill levels, from beginner to competitive. They plan to hold competitive events at the surf lagoon, with spectator bleachers for viewing. The pool is also planning to have dedicated hours for stand-up paddle-boarding, kayaking and bodysurfing.

Fishing – Catch and release fishing is available right here in Sun City at our own fishing pier and lake. Cahuilla lake in nearby La Quinta is stocked with rainbow trout in the winter and catfish in the summer. There are also bass, bluegill, and carp in there according to the Fishing Network.

Visit the Indian Canyons- Tahquitz Canyon is one of the most beautiful and culturally sensitive areas of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation. Tahquitz Canyon is home to a spectacular seasonal 60-foot waterfall, rock art, ancient irrigation systems, native wildlife, and plants. Located at the entrance to the canyon, the Tahquitz Canyon Visitor Center offers educational and cultural exhibits. The Center offers a display of artifacts, an observation deck, and a theater room for viewing The Legend of Tahquitz Canyon. Also, fifteen miles long, Palm Canyon is one of the areas of great beauty in Western North America. Its indigenous flora and fauna, which the Cahuilla people so expertly used, and its abundant Washingtonia filifera (California Fan Palm) are breathtaking contrasts to the stark rocky gorges and barren desert lands beyond. A moderately graded foot path winds down into the canyon for picnicking near the stream, meditation, exploring, hiking or horseback riding. While in Palm Canyon visit the Trading Post for hiking maps, refreshments, Indian art and artifacts, books, jewelry, pottery, baskets, weaving, and conversational cultural lore.

Jeep Tours – With about a 10 to 30 minute drive depending on where you want to tour, you can hook up with a Jeep tour company that has been serving the Palm Desert area since 1987. They offer open-air Jeep Tours to the San Andreas Fault, Palm Springs Indian Canyons, or the majestic Painted Canyon in the Mecca Hills Wilderness Area.

Ride the Tram - The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway—the world’s largest rotating tram car—travels over two-and-one-half miles along the breathtaking cliffs of Chino Canyon, transporting riders to the pristine wilderness of the Mt. San Jacinto State Park. During your approximately ten-minute journey, tram cars rotate slowly, offering picturesque and spectacular vistas of the valley floor below. Once you reach the Mountain Station—elevation 8,516 feet—enjoy two restaurants, observation decks, natural history museum, two documentary theaters, gift shop and over 50 miles of hiking trails. In Long Valley, a short walk from the station, you will find the Long Valley Ranger Station, a picnic area with barbecue stoves and restrooms, a ski center, a self-guiding nature trail, and Desert View Trail which offers panoramas of the high country including several peaks over 10,000 feet in elevation. The tram entrance is about a 40 minute drive and is located on the west end of Palm Springs so consider exploring Palm Springs, maybe it’s great Art Museum or Mid Century Modern architecture, either before or after your tram ride.

Skydiving – Less than an hour’s drive you can experience individual or tandem Skydiving between the majestic mountains of San Jacinto and Big Bear, for the ultimate rush!

Hot Air Balloon Rides – In about a 20 minute drive you can meet up with the folks who can take you on a thrilling Hot Air Balloon ride with spectacular views of Palm Desert area.

Escape Rooms – In about a 20 minute drive you and your friends can meet at an Escape Room. While it looks like an ordinary room, it’s actually a real life adventure game designed for small groups of friends, families, and co-workers.  Find the hidden objects, figure out the clues and solve the puzzles to earn your freedom and “Escape the Room.”  You have 60 minutes, so be quick!

Live Sports and Arenas – The Power baseball club recruits elite collegiate players from around the country and provides Valley residents with live baseball five to six nights a week at the Palm Springs Stadium during June and July. The California Winter League plays in the Palm Springs Stadium during January and February.

Two new large arenas are being developed just off of I-10 in the Palm Desert area making them very accessible from Sun City Palm Desert. One is a professional hockey and entertainment venue and the other is a sports arena complex for both professional and local sports teams. Both arenas include plans for community use.

The Coachella Valley Firebirds, the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken, will start play at the new Acrisure Arena in mid-December 2022. Around 40 home hockey games, more than 40 concerts and 150 other events, from professional and college sports to family shows, are expected to fill the approximately 11,500-seat venue year-round.

Oak View Group is constructing its new sports and entertainment arena on 43.35 acres of land at I-10 and Cook Street, less than a 10-minute drive from SCPD, the arena will be more than 275,000 square feet and feature 11,500 seats and include modern suites and premium hospitality clubs. It will be the home of the Coachella Valley Firebirds American Hockey League (AHL) team and will include an adjoining facility that will serve as a year-round community gathering space and the training center for the AHL team.

The Coachella Sports and Entertainment Stadium Authority detailed its planned development, including a 10,000-seat arena and a 14,000-seat indoor stadium, The Shield at 1 Coyote Way, a 588-acre, multi-use campus that will be a 365-day-a-year destination. The Shield will include indoor and outdoor sports centers for soccer, concerts, football, lacrosse, field hockey.

Live boxing and MMA events are held at the local Casinos.

Polo Matches – Neighboring Indio hosts two Polo Clubs, the Eldarado Polo Club offers exciting polo matches open to the public. For just a parking fee you can pull your car up field side and enjoy a tailgate party or sit in the stands. The announcers provide a running commentary so even a first timer can understand and enjoy what’s happing in this fast moving exciting sport. The typical season runs from January through March or April.

Horseback Riding – There are several places in the Valley that offer boarding, if you own a horse, and riding and jumping facilities, as well as lessons and training at all riding levels. Trail rides are also available at Smoke Tree Ranch and other facilities in the area.

ATV, Quads, Off Road Vehicles – Several companies within about a 45 minute drive will rent you ATV, Quads or Off Road Vehicles to use at their areas or take you on an off road tour. A bit farther, about 2 hours or so, are Ocotillo and Glamis where you can off road and enjoy the large sand dunes as well as camp overnight.

BMX Riding - A local family owned and operated BMX track has been operating for about 10 years and is only about a 30 minute drive from Sun City Palm Desert.

Motor Racing - The nearby Thermal Club offers three stunning racing circuits, karting and auto cross tracks on 5.1 Miles of Unlimited Motorsports Opportunity. Unfortunately it is open to members only but if you just want to experience the thrill or driving one of their fantastic private race tracks then the BMW Performance Center at the Thermal club offers that opportunity to nonmembers. There is a black lake wet track, multi-configuration course with hairpin turns, high-speed straights and a 300’ polished concrete skidpad.
A bit farther away, just over an hour’s drive is Chuckwalla Valley Raceway, also a member’s only track but the academy when open has cars and instructors for hire.

Go Karts – Big Bear Racing (see Skiing for other activities at Big Bear) delivers a real racing experience with full-featured Karts. Closer to home is Boomers, about a 30 minute drive, where you can drive high performance Go Karts and experience the thrill of banked curves, hairpin turns, and exhilarating straight-aways. They also have miniature golf, batting cages, a 32-foot climbing wall and other activities.

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