Whitewater Preserve closed until further notice!

Whitewater Canyon Road has been severly damaged from winter storms in February rendering it impassible. Preserve closure includes any hike-in traffic from the Pacific Crest Trail. The preserve will re-open once the road has been repaired. The County of Riverside is tentatively projecting the road to be repaired and open for public use in fall/winter 2019. We will provide updates as new information comes available.

BLM Fire Closure in Effect

As of June 28, 2019, a fire closure has been issued for Whitewater Canyon. Vehicle access to Whitewater Canyon is restricted to residents and workers only! All other vehicles attempting to access the canyon will be ticketed by BLM.


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.

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
(760) 325-7222
Get driving directions
Whitewater Preserve Location Map


All programs are offered for free! Registration is required for certain programs. Please visit the online program calendar to register for specific programs.

Online Program Calendar & Registration

CANCELED! Feb. 14 Canyon View Loop Guided Hike due to weather.

Bird Walks
The wetlands within Whitewater Canyon attract many local and migrating birds. Join us for a walk through different habitats while looking for some of the most than 216 bird species that frequent the preserve. Bring binoculars and scopes. No reservations needed. Walks begin at 8:00 am and are an hour and a half.

Guided Hikes
We provided a wide variety of guided hikes throughout Whitewater Canyon. These hikes have educational componets which will teach the group on many different topics inlcuding watersheds, ecology, geology, botany, and more! Make sure to bring a hat, sunscreen, closed-toed hiking/walking shoes, and water.

Star Parties
The San Bernardino Valley Amatuer Astronomers sets up a variety of telescopes to give visitors a close up look at stars, planets, moons, nebulas, galaxies, and more! Make sure to bring approriate clothing for this after hours, night time event.

Volunteer Days
Work alongside our staff on projects that help us steward our preserve. Projects vary depending on the needs of the preserve at the time. Don't forget to bring a hat, sunscreen, closed-toed shoes, and water. Volunteer Days will begin at 9:00 am and end at noon.

We host a diverse range of free workshops presented by guest speakers and/or staff. Workshops are held both inside our ranger station and outdoors in the field.

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.