Mysterious holiday lights appear on mountain above Palm Springs

December 10th, 2013 | by Liz Kelly Nelson | Comments
Lights on the mountain visible from downtown Palm Springs. (Brian Indrelunas/ The Desert Sun)

Lights on the mountain visible from downtown Palm Springs. (Brian Indrelunas/ The Desert Sun)

UPDATE: One of the lights has been located. Here’s a brand new post, with pics, and an explanation.


For the past several days a winding line of lights has been visible on a mountain above downtown Palm Springs. The lights are holiday-colored (red, green, blue) and shine from sundown until around 10 p.m. on what we estimate to be a stretch of the North Lykken Trail.

No one, at this point, knows exactly where they are or how they ended up on the mountain ridge. Representatives at both the Santa Rosa Mountains Ranger Station and the Bureau of Land Management weren’t aware of their existence. A representative of the Agua Caliente Band of  Cahuilla Indians, who manage the nearby Tahquitz Canyon, said their rangers noticed the lights moving up the mountain on Sunday and that they have been stationary ever since at around 3,500 feet.

“Somebody is saying Merry Christmas, I guess,” said the representative, who declined to be named.

On the MyDesert Facebook page, the lights have ignited a spirited string of comments with people both legitimately — and not so much — trying to guess at their source. So far, guesses have spanned the spectrum from military test aircraft to a landing strip for a UFO.

We’re thinking it’s more likely a benign piece of seasonal guerrilla artwork.

We’re sending a photographer up the trail to check it out. If you know anything about the lights, leave a comment here or contact me at

UPDATE: Photographer Jay Calderon spent a couple of hours climbing the North Lykken Trail this afternoon and came up empty. He wasn’t able to find the source of the lights.

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