This picture shows the trail plainly curving off to the northeast, heading to the old Lake Cahuilla shoreline. My colleague Josh is walking this stretch of the trail with his GPS unit in hand to map the route. When the fieldwork is complete, we'll use the GIS data on the routes along with high-resolution air photos to link the segments up and make a prehistoric road map.
As one would expect, there is evidence of lots of prehistoric activity along these trails. The picture above shows distinct activity areas near this trail by clusters of pin flags marking artifact locations.
...and this one which has its own small path linking it to the trail in the background. It is likely that these are related to what the local ethnographic literature calls power circles. The power circles were used by travelers along the trail, both during actual travel and "dream travel" (during trances) to pray and meditate to obtain power for the successful completion of the journey.
A recent archaeological project conducted nearby used a Least Cost Digital Elevation Model to plot hypothetical extensions of known trail segments. The reasoning here was that people using the trails would take the shortest and easiest routes between points. Field checks showed that the model was a poor predictor of trail locations - the presumption being that trails were routed to link important ritual locations rather than following the physically easiest route.