San Diego Trail Tramps - Scheduled Hikes for 2011

 Whitewater Preserve Hike (near Palm Springs)

Date:  Saturday, February 5th, 2011  10:00 AM -  4:00 PM
Hike Group:  San Diego Trail Tramps
Info. URLs:  Map for this hike
Whitewater Preserve (on the beautiful Wildlands Conservancy Website)
Current weather for this area
Driving Directions to Whitewater Preserve
Whitewater Preserve, northwest of Palm Springs
 Description:  Pacific Crest Trail (Ranger Station to San Gorgonio & San Jacinto Overlook Summit & Back Again)
*** degree of difficulty out of a possible *****.
9 miles roundtrip hike -- approx 4.5 hour hike.  Elevation gain/loss is about 1300'. Start at 2,114' & hike to 3,400'.
Hiking boots are recommended for traversing some of the steeper rocky & loose dirt trails / non-trails.
Crossing of the narrow but swift running Whitewater River (twice) requires balance, agility, & possible assistance from fellow hikers.
This hike is located in the Whitewater Preserve, which is 2,826 acres surrounded by BLM San Gorgonio Wilderness. (Check the Maps page of this website for more directions and a map to print out.) We'll plan to meet there at 10:00 am and start hiking about 10:30.

This hike will start at the Ranger Station, where the Rangers inside the building are quite knowledgeable about the history of the (now gone) Trout Farm -- and the establishment of a conservancy/preserve. Arrive early to chat directly with them about it -- its quite a fascinating history, and also summarized on their website.

We will hike north on new trails created by the Preserve, with easy crossing of the Whitewater River within minutes of the ranger station, through a reeded marshy area, up onto a small ledge that borders the valley floor and on up to the intersection of the Pacific Crest Trail within 15 minutes of departing.
Following the PCT for the next 45 minutes and skirting the western-most edge of the valley, we will eventually approach Red Dome -- a large mound of red clay. 10 minutes later we again approach the Whitewater River -- however here it is quite challenging to cross, unless others have moved tree trunks to cross, or large limbs. It is a swift river...only knee deep mostly, with small pools that do go down a couple of feet. (25 hikers crossed it mid January without 1 falling in). We may have to go up river or down river to locate a suitable crossing. You can always take off your boots and walk across in less than 15 seconds too!

From the river we travel across the rest of the valley floor N/NW to the PCT Switchbacks that would typically take you up to the West Fork Trail, and then another 4 miles over to the Mission Creek Preserve. But we won't be going that far. 40 minutes or less up the switchbacks (through a prickly pear cactus patch at one point near the beginning) we will arrive at a pseudo-summit along a ridgeline, where you can clearly see the other side of the mountains and Joshua Tree National Park's western edge beyond Morongo Valley. Here we will turn northward, and freeball it along some steep inclines, then what appear to look like unstable cliffs 10 minutes up to the top of the Summit, where we'll unwind (you'll possibly be winded the last 10 minutes), unpack our packed lunches, and gawk at the incredible snow-capped views of both Mt. San Gorgonio to the West and Mt. San Jacinto to the South.
After lunch, we'll head down the SouthWest Ridgeline of that summit until we reach the valley floor again, back over to the River to cross it (now's the time with good weather to take that dip!) and back on down the PCT to the Ranger Station.

Canine Companions are welcome on this hike!

The following day (Sunday), for those who stay overnite in Palm Springs and are adventurous, don't hesitate to consider a SLEDDING or SNOWSHOEING expedition up Mt. San Jacinto for a couple of hours mid-day. Some equipment is available from a couple of our Palm Springs members, the rest can be rented up top at the Adventure Center. $23.25 for roundtrip on the tram ride, + equipment rental, and Hot Chocolate is served with or without Baileys or Kahlua up there at the Lodge. ;^ ) See Palm Springs Tramway for details.