Whitewater Preserve is 2,851 acres surrounded by the Bureau of Land Management’s 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 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 Conservancy purchased an additional 3,200 acres in the Whitewater corridor that was donated to the Bureau of Land Management. These donated lands include sand dunes that are home to the endangered fringe-toed lizard at Windy Point, which lies at the confluence of the Whitewater and San Gorgonio Rivers.
The Conservancy's purchase and restoration of the 40,032 Whitewater Range Allotment has transformed a black water cattle wallow into crystal clear waters.
The Wildlands Conservancy’s acquisitions included 1,280 acres that had been 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 40,032-acre 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. Legislation is pending to make the Whitewater River a National Wild and Scenic River.
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.
Trail Map and Checklists
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
Fall and Winter Activities at Whitewater Preserve
Details Coming Soon!
Group Programs Available by Request
- Group Programs are available by request only. Please contact the preserve ranger station at (760) 325-7222 for questions and to reserve a program.
- Download Group Program Information (PDF)