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Set in the heart of the California desert, those who live in Thunderbird Heights enjoy crisp, clean air and star-filled night skies. They also have access to some of the finest luxury properties and golf courses in the Golden State. Find out what makes this hidden gem one of the most desirable places to live in Coachella Valley.


Located in Rancho Mirage, CA, Thunderbird Heights spans roughly 25 square miles. Situated along Highway 111, approximately 11 miles from Palm Springs, the community falls within the boundaries of Riverside County. The closest airport is Palm Springs (PSP) International Airport.


Thunderbird Heights was founded in 1951 with the opening of Thunderbird Country Club, an exclusive club that catered to the Hollywood elite, statesmen, and other affluent members.

The country club counts former U.S. presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Gerald Ford among its illustrious members while Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Barack Obama were also known to have played the designer golf course.

The area consisted mainly of onion fields just outside of Palm Springs before developers saw its potential as a luxury development. They sought to create a prestigious golf community that would rival Thunderbird Ranch. The result is an affluent enclave with stunning homes and world-class facilities.

Community vibe

Thunderbird Heights brings you resort living at its finest, with recreational facilities fit for Hollywood royalty. Its developers wanted to create an exclusive community where A-listers can let their hair down, and Thunderbird Heights certainly lives up to this vision. The community offers peace and privacy as well as stunning views of the designer golf course and the surrounding desert landscape.

Thunderbird Heights, CA real estate

The housing stock consists primarily of spacious single-family homes. Upon its opening in 1951, buyers quickly snapped up the limited suites and cottages in the clubhouse and fairways. Those who came late purchased homes on the hillsides overlooking the golf course.

Today, you’ll find rebuilds and remodels from the 1960s with modern features and conveniences. Common features include outdoor pools, cabanas, and sunken fire pit lounge areas that are perfect for entertaining.

The community is particularly known for decadent Mid-Century Modern architecture that has been carefully preserved over the decades. Some of the homes in the community were designed by famous architects like Howard Lapham and William Cody.

Former President Gerald Ford owned a home in Thunderbird Heights, while some of the community’s first investors included comedian Bob Hope and TV personality Desi Arnaz.

Estimated costs and fees for Thunderbird Country Club membership include:

  • Golf membership initiation fee: $50,000
  • Golf membership annual dues $22,440
  • Social membership initiation fee: $10,000
  • Social membership annual dues: $10,715

Neighborhood highlights & amenities

  • Golf – Thunderbird Heights brings you an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Larry Hughes and John Dawson, and remodeled by Ted Robinson.
  • Fine dining – Residents have access to Rancho Mirage’s famed Restaurant Row just outside the front gates of the community.
  • Shopping and entertainment – Homeowners also have access to The River, a massive shopping, dining, and entertainment complex.

Other exclusive gated communities nearby

  • The Quarry Golf Club La Quinta brings you 18 holes of championship golf courtesy of famed golf course architect Tom Fazio. The community also has a state-of-the-art fitness center, fine dining restaurant, and wine cellar. The most coveted homes offer views of the golf course and the surrounding areas.
  • Andalusia Country Club at Coral Mountain La Quinta offers over 900 homes and home sites. Amenities include a Rees Jones-designed golf course, tennis courts, pool, fitness center, and walking and biking trails.
  • The Hideaway Golf Club La Quinta features a Pete Dye-designed golf course in addition to a pool, fitness center, tennis courts, wine cellar, and spa and salon services. The community offers 378 Spanish Colonial Revival-style homes as well as villas and bungalows.
  • The Madison Club La Quinta Palm Desert is a gated community with custom-built homes, villas, and suites. Amenities include a fitness center and Tom Fazio-design golf course.
  • La Quinta, CA luxury real estate lets you choose from a wide selection of single-family homes in diverse architectural styles, most notably Spanish Revival, Tuscan, and Contemporary. The city is sought for its resort lifestyle and world-class amenities.
  • PGA West real estate gives you access to a roughly 2,200-acre resort development with all the trappings of luxury, including two designer golf courses in addition to a racquet club and fitness center.


If you’re ready to join the exclusive community of Thunderbird Heights, don’t hesitate to contact Jason Weiss of The Luxury Desert. As a leading luxury real estate agent in the Greater Palms Springs Area, Jason has executed over $1 billion in closed sales. He believes in “real estate, refined” when working with high net worth clients, handling transactions with discretion and efficiency.

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