By Denise Ortuno Neil

High atop south Palm Desert is a place with sprawling views of the Coachella Valley. On a clear day, visitors can see the landscape of our beautiful desert that can reach the Salton Sea. It is our very own look out, Vista Point.

The spot is correctly named, defining its advantages perfectly. Vista Point has been on my radar for many a decade. I used to go up there quite a bit as a teenager. It was a perfect place for me to reflect while looking onto the vast desert valley below. It encompassed serenity and beauty…a simple quiet that would clear my mind.

Back then, Vista Point was a spot to not only enjoy the views, but for some, a place to hang out and enjoy social activities as well. Yes, people used to party up there (not me I promise)…and I’m sure to some degree, still do. But with the treacherous road that takes you there, partying at the Point, might not be the best idea.


Besides being a place to take in amazing views, the turnout is also a photo destination to take incredible shots of the Coachella Valley, both in the daytime and at night. As well as bird watching and wild life and plant spectating.

The cut out is located in the Santa Rosa Mountains, and part of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument….a stop along Hwy 74, which if traveled on with the correct direction, can take you all the way to San Diego.

Vista Point has changed over the years for the better. It was kind of scary back in the day. There weren’t any real borders to protect visitors from well…falling. No well-maintained mini walls like there are now, and the once rampant graffiti is gone too. The powers that be have cleaned up the famous spot very nicely.

Like I mentioned before, I used to drive up to Vista Point often. Taking the drive up Hwy 74 proved to be therapeutic. However, my sense of adventure has been slightly quelled over the years where heights are concerned, making my travels up to the lookout few and far between. But it is a fond memory, and even more so knowing that it is still there for others to enjoy….sitting high atop the desert floor, providing a bird’s eye view to all of our desert’s spectacular beauty.

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