this article and others.
Oak Glen Preserve, which I visited several times last year, and previously. I've also been to Whitewater numerous times, going as far back as 2010, my first full year with this blog.
I have also approached Whitewater Preserve from the Haugen-Lehman (Cottonwood Trailhead), and the Canyon View Loop Trail.
I still want to walk between Mission Creek Preserve and the Whitewater watershed, and from the Whitewater ranger station to the Mt. San Gorgonio Overlook (The latter trail used to appear on the flyer/map they handed out at Whitewater, but not any more--not sure why).
The trail starts as nearly all Whitewater trails begin--by passing between the two palm trees to the north of the preserve. From there, continue towards the Pacific Crest Trail. That's a mere half-mile away.
This alternate trail, while unmarked on the Whitewater Preserve map, is very well defined on the ground. It heads towards a prominent rocky peak, where the canyon begins to narrow.
After about a mile on this spur trail, the ravine bottom begins to get moist. Then occasional pools are found, and sometimes little "waterfalls" are passed.
This area must be sheltered from the elements, as the cottonwood tree I passed still had some leaves, as did a few of the willow trees.
Eventually, I came to what is probably the end of the trail for most hikers: This was now basically a slot canyon, not much wider at places than a person, and very deep. Rocky cliffs and boulders formed the base for numerous small waterfalls (2-10 feet in height).
While a fall would have been no more than 5-6 feet, it would have been to an uneven, stony floor with numerous boulders in the area. So I determined the risk of injury were I to continue was too large to risk the ascent (which very well might only have gotten me another ten yards, before reaching another barrier).
I do this a lot now that I'm a little older, but, especially, because I'm usually hiking alone. I like to think that one advantage of hiking alone is that you don't get into a "group think" situation where you convince each other that you can do something that maybe you shouldn't be trying to do.
I don't know for sure if this water is perennial or not. I sort of assume it mostly is, since there hasn't been that much rain, recently. Water must percolate between cracks in the cliffs around me, then seep out into the ravine.
Because of the sheltered nature of this ravine, the water supports a riparian habitat that is quite different from the main stem of the Whitewater River.
This means, if you come this way, you should trend softly. Even more so than in other areas of the Preserve, pack out what you pack in. And don't camp in the area on loiter around twilight. Especially in the summer time, I expect this is a place that is often visited by indigenous wildlife in search of water.
The return hike seemed much quicker than the hike out. It almost always seems to be the case, especially if the return is down-hill.
Heading up the other way, towards Banning and Beaumont, might have been quicker. Also, if the stupid truck stop /gas station I stopped at on the way to Palm Springs was properly stocked, it would have been faster (but probably more costly). So, instead, I had a ridiculously long detour to get an SD card. This happens way often than I'd like to admit. I really need to get better at double checking my camera before I leave home.
To get to Whitewater, take the Whitewater exit from I-10 (just west of the junction with CA-62, and just east of a rest area), head very briefly east, towards the stone seller, then turn north, and drive to the end of the road. There is no entrance fee, although parking is somewhat limited considering the popularity of the place. There are good wildflower blooms in season, and the cold running water (runoff from Mount San Gorgonio) attracts all sorts of folks seeking relief from the desert sun. I'd suggest either coming early or possibly being willing to walk a fair distance to get here. (Also, I think sometimes they don't allow parking on the approach road, so the latter may not really matter).
Road Canyon Three Ways | R&R 3 - I was pooped when I climbed into the tent on the edge of the West Fork of Johns Canyon. A full day of hiking (I'd covered more than 16 miles), after only a...
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