Wildflower Hike at Whitewater Preserve
April 14th, 2011
Mid to late April is a great time to hike in the Whitewater Preserve. The elevation of the canyon is higher than Palm Springs, so the wildlflowers bloom a few weeks later and the temperature is a little cooler. After hiking many of the desert canyons Whitewater Canyon has become one of my favorite hiking areas. The meandering river, scenic mountains and lush landscape are a great way to escape from the desert heat and to enjoy a more diverse landscape. The cottonwoods, sycamores and willows create a lush habitat throughout the canyon and parts of the trail system. The Preserve is home to numerous birds and other types of wildlife that provide ample opportunity for photos and wildlife viewing.
When I arrived at Whitewater around 10:00 on a Thursday morning, the parking area was ¾’s full. Several groups were using the picnic tables near the visitor’s center. There were a couple groups of hikers heading out on the trail. My friend Sue and I decided to take a short trail into the canyon so we could observe what wildflowers were in bloom.
Most of the wildflowers that we saw were near the base of the mountains and slopes. Near the Visitor’s Center before the trail starts we saw an area with abundant yellow brittlebush in bloom. As we headed farther into the canyon we spotted Yucca blooms and several that were growing stalks with buds that were getting ready to bloom. There were scattered Hedgehog and beavertail on the rocky slops with one or two flowers open with many buds. There were patches of purple and yellow flowers in the ground cover along the trail. As we progressed along the route we saw more brittlebush that were not yet in bloom, but looked about a week or two away from showing color.
Within the 7 to 10 days this area will be peaking in terms of the wildlfower displays. It is a great location for a short or long hike. The trails are well marked and maintained. The grounds in and around the Visitor’s Center are immaculate and picturesque.
The Rangers at the Whitewater Preserve offer guided walks, bird walks, nature & photography classes and other programs. For more details call the Preserve or visit their website:
Whitewater Canyon Road, northwest of Palm Springs, off Interstate 10.
9160 Whitewater Canyon Road
Whitewater, CA 92282