Bob Schneider’s vision to start an eco-tour business which would become integral to tourism and the community of Palm Springs became a reality when he bought Desert Adventures. The company’s fleet of open-sided, canvas-topped red jeeps, has enabled visitors to explore the surrounding desert and 800-acre private Matate ranch, through which the San Andreas fault line runs. Bob Schneider and naturalist Lane Romans explain how Desert Adventures has a strong commitment to the environment and preserving the natural beauty of the land on which it operates its tours.
How did the company start – were the roots always in Palm Springs and how has the destination changed over time?
Lane: Desert Adventures started 30 years ago by a sales person at one of the hotels in the valley – she thought it would be a good idea to start a jeep tour company. In 2010 Bob bought the company and moved out to Palm Springs. Hospitality really drives the company. Our personal touches have a great reputation and we’re known as the premier tour company in Greater Palm Springs Area.
Bob: One of our biggest challenges was recruiting guides as you really have to have a passion for the desert. We recognised early on that the people here have a love for what they do. We really take care of our guides, and our training programme is unique and rigorous as we need to ensure they know exactly what they’re getting into! Everyone then has to give a small story of something they learned throughout the experience. The Key to being a great guide is to be able to tell and weave a story into understanding the environment that we’re in.
Lane: 8 years ago, I went to college to become a naturalist and sometimes I think, oh my gosh I’m still amazed at this wonderful job! I hopped over from the zoo to Desert Adventures. The people here are amazing and I love meeting people from all over the world too. It’s so exciting to share this beautiful environment.
Could you tell us a little bit more about the events side of the business?
Bob: The event space was developed by the previous owners and Bob found out that it was not properly entitled. It was a long process to entitle the land but now the Metate Ranch based on the Enchanted Desert is an amazing venue for lunches, dinner parties, team building and weddings.
What do you love most about Palm Springs?
Bob: With year-round sunshine, Palm Springs is an area of endless possibility. Go on a bike tour to Box Canyon, soak up the dramatic landscapes on a Desert Adventures tour, enjoy health and wellness in one of the many spas, visit the desert hot springs, hike in Joshua Tree National Park. Then of course there’s the dining scene which has hugely changed over the years. Palm Springs is now a foodie place with new chefs opening up amazing restaurants. There’s so much more to Palm Springs than a golf destination. It can be a really well-rounded experience, with some of the best weather in the world and it’s one of the greatest places to live in the world. It changed my life when I moved to Palm Springs. It’s enabled me to be out here and be involved in a business like this – it’s a great gratifying experience.
Rest your head
For fun vibes, tongue-in-cheek design and their amazing cocktail menu, we love the Ace Hotel & Swim Club. From £270 per night
Enjoy the Desert Adventures ‘San Andreas Fault Jeep Tour’ from $129 per person. www.red-jeep.com