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Palm Desert Air Park

Ever heard of The Palm Desert Air Park?  We hadn’t either, but found this bit of Desert History interesting and thought you might too!

Palm Desert Airpark

Did you know the current Omni Resort in Rancho Mirage was once a destination airport called The Palm Desert Air Park?

After World War II, many airports created destination stops for the sole purpose of enticing wandering aviators to drop in from the sky.

The Palm Desert Airpark featured two 3200′ green grass landing strips for flying enthusiasts. In 1946 Los Angeles architect Hank Gogerty purchased a few hundred acres of desert land about 10 miles southeast of Palm Springs.  There he sculpted & groomed a pair of beautifully manicured grass runways shaped like a pair of emerald scissors.

Palm Desert Airpark

The luxury overnight accommodations at the airpark originally were war-surplus barracks that Gogerty had trucked in from Beaumont. By 1951, though, he completed the opening of his Desert Air Hotel, a true Desert Oasis complete with individual cottages, pool, dining room, and fabulous watering hole that attracted pilots from near & far.

During its heyday, you would see as many as 100 visiting airplanes for holiday weekends. Many belonged to Hollywood celebrities, politicians, royalty, and other notables seeking escape.

The airfield itself was sod with 2 crossing runways, the longest of which was about 3,000′.

Like so many other airports, The Palm Desert Airpark fell victim to escalating real-estate prices & was eventually purchased by land developers in 1968.  Over the years since, that land has been developed into what is now the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort, the Rancho Las Palmas Country Club, and  Rancho Las Palmas Shopping Center in Rancho Mirage.

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