Big Morongo Canyon Trail, Morongo Valley

Palm Springs, California 92263

Big Morongo Canyon Trail, Morongo Valley

Big Morongo Canyon Trail, Morongo Valley Professional Review and Guide

"This moderate balloon hike is a good introduction to Big Morongo Preserve, a 29,000-acre desert oasis of marshes, ridges, canyons, and one of the largest cottonwood and willow riparian habitats in California. The preserve is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and helped by a strong corps of volunteers known as Friends of Big Morongo.

The hike begins in a quiet marsh, then heads uphill briefly to a saddle ridge before dipping into Big Morongo Canyon and following a stream, fed by snowmelt from the surrounding mountains, 4 miles to Indian Avenue in Desert Hot Springs."

More Big Morongo Canyon Trail, Morongo Valley Professional Reviews and Guides

"Numerous trails lace this preserve and it is easy to choose as short or long a hike as you wish. There are benches and observation platforms along the way. All hikes start at the kiosk adjacent to the parking lot. Excellent maps are available here; take one and plan your excursion. The preserve is open from 7:30 a.m. to sunset."

"Nearly 300 species of birds have been spotted along a 6-mile stretch of Big Morongo Canyon, just outside the town of Morongo Valley. Wildlife frequenting the canyon includes bighorn sheep, bobcat, mountain lion, and mule deer. The 31,000-acre Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, administered by the federal Bureau of Land Management, encompasses the wettest parts of the canyon. The preserve sits astride a melding of coastal chaparral and desert habitats and is regarded as one of the most important wildlife oases in the California desert. The exotic freshwater marsh found here owes its existence to seepage of water up along a geologic fault associated with a great rift between tectonic plates—the San Andreas Fault Zone—not far to the south."

"Part of the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, the trail down Big Morongo Canyon takes you through a wild and scenic canyon that cuts through the western end of the Little San Bernardino Mountains. The canyon is prime desert bighorn sheep habitat, and if you’re lucky you’ll see some of these agile mountain climbers on the steep canyon walls above you."

Big Morongo Canyon Trail, Morongo Valley Reviews

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I took the spur to Willow Springs. It was a nice easy stroll through some great desert scenery. Watch out though for frequent trail segments through dry creek beds - keep an eye out for markers. The spring at the end was no great shakes, it was smal and stagnant, but the scenery was very good.
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I took the Wonderland of Rocks hike with the Joshua Tree Association. We had a professional guide, which was a good thing as the hike is very difficult and the trail hard to follow. It's an awesome hike, very beautiful scenary, but exceptionally strenuous. There is lots of crawling and scrambling and such. The height of the hike was about midway through: a few of a huge arch of stone, visible only from a certain angle on this hike. Well worth the time and effort.

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Trail Information

Palm Springs
Nearby City
1,000 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
2-4 hours
Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, 760-363-7190,
Local Contacts
Available at kiosk near preserve entrance
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018