Whitewater Preserve

And The Wildlands Conservancy…

Just 20 minutes northwest of Palm Springs off I-10, lies 2,211 acres of dog-friendly, hiking trails open year round. Besides providing free access to public wilderness, The Wildlands Conservancy offers outdoor education and restores and protects critical habitat for:

desert bighorn sheep…


least bell’s vireo…


and southwestern willow flycatcher…


The Conservancy opened its first Preserve in 1995. Today, 15 Preserves later, TWC continues to save remarkable landscapes and open them free of charge for recreation and education. All of the Preserves and programs are maintained solely with private funding and donations. Connecting with nature… priceless (Preserve brochure)

Canyon view loop trail

From the Preserve trailhead, we follow the rock-lined path and cross the dry riverbed of the Whitewater Canyon River.

It’s a beautiful sunny day…

…and the blooming flora and foliage radiate against the clear blue sky…

I don’t know the names of these plants yet, but I will find out and identify them later, as in the nearish future. They are stunning.

We climb up several steep switchbacks before reaching the Pacific Crest Trail where the ridge levels off. (A good cardio workout!)

Along the ridge we spy cows grazing below and then walk through a plateau of their “plotchskis”, a mesa of manure.

Beaver-tailed cactus line the trail.

We reach a trail sign for the Canyon Loop Trail, leave the PCT and head back down.

The 3.5 mile Canyon View Loop Trail eventually reaches the road driving into the Preserve. In approximately 300 yards a trail marker leads back to the Visitor Center and off the road again. Today, however, the rest of the loop trail is still closed from the October 13th flash flood.

So, we walk back along the road enjoying these photo ops…

Ah… more flowers to identify later

Whitewater Preserve’s campground, park, Visitor Center, and Ranger Station are built on the foundation of the former Whitewater Trout Hatchery which closed in 2006. The Wildlands Conservancy acquired the 291-acre property through a partnership with Friends of the Desert Mountains and the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy.

A picnic area and shaded shelter are available for families and group outings. A wading pond helps relieve the hot summer heat. (Preserve brochure)

The nearby Mission Creek Preserve is also part of The Wildlands Conservancy. These 2 Preserves are outlined in blue on the map below.

The brown boundaries encompass the 154,000-acre Sand to Snow National Monument established on February 12, 2016 by President Obama. Sand to Snow rises from the desert floor of Whitewater and Mission Creek Preserves up into the snowy peaks of the San Gorgonio Wilderness that was named after the tallest peak in Southern California, 11,500-foot Mount San Gorgonio. This National Monument is a recreational wonderland providing opportunities to snowshoe, fly fish, bird-watch, and hike. (Preserve brochure)

Whitewater Preserve is open year round, free of charge. Guided hikes, stargazing, and bird walks are offered.

We will be back!

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