If you are traveling through Coachella Valley, one of the attractions you shouldn’t miss is Tahquitz Canyon (Near Palm Springs). It is the most famous of the four Indian Canyons and is an essential part of the heritage of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Keep reading to find out more about the historical facts and the legend on how this canyon got its name.
The Myth of Tahquitz
Before we start, allow us to share that the name of this canyon is pronounced tah-keetz. The Agua Caliente band has several different legends on the creation of the canyon. According to them, Mukat created a potent “Shaman” (nukatam) called Tahquitz. At one point of his life, Tahquitz fell in love with a woman, but she didn’t share those feelings. The shaman decided to kidnap her and take her to the canyon where they lived together for a couple of years.
The wife was extremely unhappy and wanted to leave. Tahquitz finally allowed her, but warned her not to tell her people what happened. However, she neglected that warning and Tahquitz’s wrath killed her. According to the legend, the immortal shaman is still present in the canyon. The visitors that go too far into the canyon during the night are in danger of getting their soul stolen. The legend also claims that he is the one behind the earthquakes. If you notice a meteor or a green light ball, you might have seen the shaman.
The History of Tahquitz Canyon
The Native Americans got their fish, water, and other supplies from Lake Cahuilla, but once it disappeared they were forced to look for an alternative habitat. This probably happened around 2,000 years ago and that is when the Cahuilla tribe started living in the Tahquitz Canyon. You can find many artifacts, such as ceramics and petroglyphs that depict the history of the tribe that used to inhabit the area.
It might be interesting to mention that in the 1920s plays were organized in the canyon. There were three in total and one of them focused on the Tahquitz Legend. The other two were The Arrow makes and Fire written by Mary Hunter Austin.
The canyon also made an appearance in a movie called the Lost Horizon, which was made in 1937 and directed by Frank Capra. In that movie, the waterfalls served as an entrance to Shangri-La. Today, these waterfalls are one of the most visited locations in the area.
See directions below:
E Tahquitz Canyon Way
Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA
Drive from Ramon Rd and I-10 E to Palm Desert
22 min (11.5 mi)
Drive to your destination
1 min (0.1 mi)
Bug Guys Pest Control
75178 Gerald Ford Dr A3, Palm Desert, CA 92211, USA