The Whitewater Preserve is 2,826 acres surrounded by the Bureau of Land Management San Gorgonio Wilderness and includes the year-round Whitewater River. Rich riparian habitat hosts the endangered Southwest willow flycatcher and Bell's vireo and provides the opportunity to see migrating summer tanagers and vermilion flycatchers. The canyon has a robust population of bighorn sheep, deer and bear and is an important wildlife corridor between the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains. The Wildlands Conservancy purchased an additional 3,200 acres in the Whitewater corridor that was donated to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). These donated lands include sand dunes that are home to the endangered fringe-toed lizard at Windy Point at the confluence of the Whitewater and San Gorgonio Rivers.
The Conservancy's acquisitions include 1,280 acres that were subdivided into 40 acre parcels deep inside the San Gorgonio Wilderness. Roads to the subdivision have been removed and the integrity of the wilderness has been restored. The Conservancy also purchased the BLM range allotment as a means to retire all cattle grazing in the Whitewater Watershed. Over the past ten years, the Whitewater River has transformed from black water cattle wallows to crystal clear waters. Other restoration efforts involved removing 19 neglected houses and commercial structures at the old trout farm along with diseased non-native elm trees. These impacted lands have been restored with native sycamores, cottonwoods, flowering ash, alders, narrow-leaved willows, native shrubs and substantial wetlands.
Trail Map and Checklists
The Whitewater Trout Farm's historic building has been transformed into a visitor facility and ranger station.
Other visitor facilities include individual and group picnic areas and campgrounds that are overshadowed by steep vertical cliffs where bighorn sheep are often spotted.
There is a trailhead leading to the Pacific Crest Trail and paver paths around the ponds for the elderly. Fishing is limited to organized catch and release programs for kids in which all equipment is provided.
The preserve is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Days, or in the event of dangerous weather conditions.
Permits for preserve camping, backcountry trip parking, and afterhours hiking are available at the preserve ranger station during open hours, in person or by phone.
For additional information or to make a reservation for an interpretive program or the campground, call the preserve at 760.325.7222.
This scenic property lies at the end of Whitewater Canyon Road, northwest of Palm Springs, off Interstate 10.
9160 Whitewater Canyon Road
Whitewater, CA 92282
2013 Activities and Special Events
- Most of our events are held outdoors, so bring your hat and sunscreen, walking shoes, and a bottle of water.
- Programs are free of charge, and donations are always greatly appreciated.
- Space is limited! - Please make reservations by calling ahead to guarantee your space (760) 325-7222
Activity Updates and Changes
The dates and times for the March DSLR Photography for Beginners classes have changed! New dates and times: March 9 from 2 to 3:30 pm. March 30 from 11 am to 12:30 pm
Whitewater's Annual Art Festival and Benefit Auction
A Matter of Taste: A Two-day Art Festival and Benefit Event
April 13 and 14, 2013
The Wildlands Conservancy’s Whitewater Preserve will host its third annual benefit weekend, “A Matter of Taste,” on April 13th and 14th, 2013. Come enjoy an art festival in beautiful Whitewater Canyon from 9 AM to 4:30 PM both Saturday and Sunday, featuring local artists, raffles, outdoor activities for kids, live music, and the stunning scenery of Whitewater River Canyon.
On Saturday afternoon at 4:30 pm, the preserve will host a benefit auction and artists’ reception. By purchasing a ticket for $30.00, guests can enjoy refreshments, live jazz music with the Palm Springs High School Jazz Band, and bid on artwork from favorite local artists, including Steven L. Rieman, Michael Smiley, David Salk, James Hammons, David Jesse McChesney, and Elizabeth Green.
Group Programs Available by Request
- LEAVE NO TRACE - This program reviews the seven Leave No Trace Principles in a fun and creative way that fosters cooperation and team building.
- GET TO KNOW YOUR DESERT'S WATERSHED - This slideshow program traces water from the snows of Mt. San Gorgonio to the faucets of Coachella Valley residents and on to the Salton Sea.
- CANYON WALK - This one-hour walk offers participants an introduction to the canyon, its history, and its many fascinating inhabitants.
- PRESERVING WILDLIFE COORIDORS - Whitewater Preserve has always been a corridor for species moving between the mountains and desert.
This slideshow explores the science behind protecting land that provides species safe passage through these corridors.
- Group and Scout Programs Spring 2013 Calendar
If you are interested in any of these group activities please contact the Whitewater Preserve.