Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, April 29, 2018

Desert Adventures, Day 2 consisted of a visit to the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve which is easily accessed from the 62.  You wouldn’t expect there to be so much green in the desert, but surprise!  There’s lots of green here!  This is because there’s a fault that runs through the canyon which causes water drainage from the surrounding mountains to form a marsh habitat.  There are all kinds of birds here too; 254 species!  If you’re a bird watcher, this is THE place to be!

There are trails here that are suitable for everyone.  The Marsh Trail is an easy boardwalk that winds along the stream.  It’s shaded by beautiful cottonwoods and willows.  Yes shade!  In the desert!!  Lots of wildlife activity can be seen and heard here.  The Yucca Ridge Trail takes you up to a higher elevation and is more exposed.  From here you can look down into the preserve’s wetlands to appreciate just how green and lush it is.  You’ll also have wonderful views of the surrounding peaks of Mount San Jacinto and San Gorgonio.  If you have time and are looking for a longer hike, you can take the 9.76 mile round trip Canyon Trail.  We didn’t have time to do this today, but I’d love to go back and try it when the weather is cooler.  

To get an overall perspective of the preserve, we did a loop around it - Desert Willow Trail to Yucca Ridge to West Canyon Trail to Mesquite Trail and a loop around the Marsh Trail.  There are maps and information at the kiosk at the trailhead.  We saw so many critters en route, including a snake crossing over the trail.  There were also many wildflowers in bloom.  It was an enjoyable and relaxing way to wrap up the weekend.

 The hike begins just after the kiosk.  There are maps and some really great information about the preserve.

The hike begins just after the kiosk.  There are maps and some really great information about the preserve.

 We headed left onto the Desert Willow Trail.

We headed left onto the Desert Willow Trail.

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 So lush!

So lush!

 Here the trail meets up with the Yucca Ridge Trail which we followed.

Here the trail meets up with the Yucca Ridge Trail which we followed.

 A view of Mount San Jacinto.

A view of Mount San Jacinto.

 Wildflowers in bloom all throughout the hike.

Wildflowers in bloom all throughout the hike.

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 On the ridge looking down into the preserve.

On the ridge looking down into the preserve.

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 We hiked along the Mesquite Trail for a short time.

We hiked along the Mesquite Trail for a short time.

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 Now onto the Canyon Trail before it intersects with the West Canyon Trail.  If you continue on the Canyon Trail, you can hike a little over 9 miles.

Now onto the Canyon Trail before it intersects with the West Canyon Trail.  If you continue on the Canyon Trail, you can hike a little over 9 miles.

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 And now we loop around back to the Mesquite Trail and did a loop around the Marsh Trail.

And now we loop around back to the Mesquite Trail and did a loop around the Marsh Trail.

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 The Marsh Trail is very pretty.  The boardwalk guides you around the stream under cottonwoods and willows.

The Marsh Trail is very pretty.  The boardwalk guides you around the stream under cottonwoods and willows.

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