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Route 79 through Temecula

There is a better, faster, and prettier way to get to the desert, if you don't mind a few gut-wrenching turns, steep downgrades, and the occasional Sunday driver on a two-lane highway. Start off north on the 15. As you come to Temecula, look for State Route 79 to Indio. SR79 will take you through Temecula, past the vineyards, RV parks, and off-road trails. Just as you think you might be lost, you'll see signs indicating Route 371 which veers left off the 79 toward Anza Valley. Take 371 through Anza and the San Bernardino National Forest. After several gripping turns and the potential for close calls with speeders, you'll come to a stop sign and can only go right or left. You have reached Highway 74. Turn right, toward Palm Springs, continuing through the San Bernardino National Forest, up very steep, rocky terrain to the top of the San Jacinto Mountains. As you descend the mountain, pay close attention to brake pressure — your speed will increase quickly. You'll wind through the mountains, past a scenic view of the entire Coachella Valley, and eventually be dumped right into the heart of the El Paseo shopping district in Palm Desert. Once you hit Highway 111 (Palm Canyon Drive), take a left, and in 15 short minutes you'll be in downtown Palm Springs.

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