The Coachella valley is recreational desert valley in southern California, east of Los Angeles, that extends for approximately 45 miles (72 kilometers) southeast from the San Bernardino Mountains to the Salton Sea. It is approximately 15 miles (24 kilometers) wide along most of its length, bounded on the west by the San Jacinto Mountains and the Santa Rosa Mountains and on the north and east by the Little San Bernardino Mountains. The valley's northwest entrance from the Inland Empire along Interstate 10 is known as the San Gorgonio Pass and is one of the windiest places on earth: cool coastal air is forced through the pass and mixes with the hot desert air, and hundreds of huge wind turbines spread across the desert and hills on either side of the highway greet visitors as they approach the crest of the pass. Although geographically the valley is the extension of the Colorado Desert, the irrigation of the valley since the early 20th century has allowed widespread agriculture. This is infact the primary date-growing region in the United States, responsible for nearly 95% of the nation's crop and is celebrated each year in Indio during the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival. Other agricultural products cultivated in the Coachella valley include grapes and peppers along with avocados, artichokes, corn, citrus fruits, grain and cotton.
With more than 350 days of sunshine per year and warm, mild winters - though summer can be quite hot - recreational hiking and horseback riding are popular in the many canyons in the mountains that surround the valley. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, considered to be one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th Century takes visitors from the valley floor to the Mount San Jacinto mountain station 8516 feet (2595 meters) above sea level. The Coachella Valley contains nine cities and various unincorporated communities.