Cool desert stream

Whitewater Preserve abounds with natural beauty

Coachella Valley, CA – Deja Vu. Once again, I found myself unprepared. The vast and natural beauty of the United States is an embarrassment of riches that can overwhelm the senses no matter how much you travel. You marvel at the sights, soak up what you can and yet, find yourself thirstier than ever before. It’s a fun conundrum to consider.

Philosophical mutterings aside, the next time you are in the Palm Springs area, a trip to Whitewater Preserve is one of the region’s must see destinations.

Surrounded by the San Gorgonio Wilderness, the preserve is a fantastic place to relax, hike or cool down. The crisp, clear waters of the Whitewater River run in stark contrast to the sweltering desert heat. Hike either up or downstream to explore or lay claim to your own private desert beach for the day. Bring plenty of water and wear a hat and sunscreen if you don’t wish to fry.

According the the Whitewater Preserve website, there is a “robust population of bighorn sheep, deer and bear.” Warning signs also alerted us to mountain lions, snakes and flash floods as a possibility as well. The area is considered  an important wildlife corridor between the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains. Stay alert.

Southern California Super Bloom

Visitor Center

For those less ambitious or energized, make your way toward the visitor center. There’s plenty of comfortable shade with picnic tables, a paved trail, and ponds inundated with tadpoles resting in front of majestic vertical cliffs. Watch for bighorn sheep. The small parking lot can fill quickly. The visitor center makes a great start/end point for any visit.

Hiking Trails

Cross the street from the visitor center, hop on the trails to begin exploring the desert beauty. A brief half mile walk gently winds to where the Whitewater River abuts the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s not uncommon to find hardy souls making the once in a lifetime trek between Mexico and Canada along the PCT. An easy 2,600 mile stroll.

Whitewater Preserve

Whatever your ability level, the Whitewater Preserve is a convenient stop near Palm Springs that easily allows you to experience and appreciate some of the desert’s best offerings. It ranked as one of our family’s vacation highlights.

Travel Tips

– Cool off exploring the Whitewater River
– Get a taste of the Pacific Crest Trail
– Wildlife Viewing
– Wildflowers in Spring
– Spectacular Scenery
– Hike a little, hike a lot
– Easy to Access
– Terrific Visitor Center
– Bring plenty to drink
– Wear sunscreen / hat
– Bring sturdy, waterproof shoes

For more info, visit http://www.wildlandsconservancy.org/preserve_whitewater.html