some of this text from Hiking in Palm Springs:
Painted Canyon, in the heart of the hills, exhibits many mineral deposits in hues of rose, pink, red, purple and green. The canyon runs in a general north-south direction, and is distinguished by sandy washes sprinkled with Ironwood, Smoke Trees, and Palo Verde. Keen eyed wildflower enthusiasts will also find the rare Mecca aster, a lilac tinted bloom resembling a daisy. Along the rim of the canyon and the tops of the mesas, squat colorful Ocotillo, which add to the serenity with their presence. Occasionally Bighorn sheep cross over from the Orocopia Mountains on the east looking for water. Like any desert area, the visitor is also treated to a multitude of lizards, snakes, and prairie falcons.
Painted Canyon is an excellent hiking destination, one that can be explored by way of a loop through Ladder Canyon, named for the many ladders that aid hikers who journey through the canyon. After parking at the end of the dirt road that leads to the canyon, walk up the canyon that takes off to the right of the parking area. After about 1/4 of a mile, you will see signpost to the right of the canyon that points across the way to the left. When you look to the left at the signpost, you will probably not believe there is a trail there, as it has been hidden by countless rockslides. This is the entrance to the Ladder Canyon (an amazing slot canyon) and how we came down.
We continues strait on from this junction and trailpost. This took us up two ladders and thru the whole of the Big Painted Canyon. At the northern end, we cut up and then did a 180 south along the ridgeline and looking down onto the Sultan Sea and the canyon we had just traversed.
Continuing south you will come to a large rock pile where you can go left (SE) along the ridge, or right (SW) on the “Alternate Trail”. Both trails later meet at a T junction just north of the grotos of the Ladder Canyon. From the T junction, you have to navigate several ladders to reach the bottom of the canyon. The ladders are maintained by volunteers, and can be a little treacherous especially if they have broken rungs. If you feel they are unsafe, please do not try to climb them. You exit back at the trailpost for the Ladder Canyon and then exit the way you entered.
A perfect morning hike!