There are some places I visit over and over. So much so that I feel like we’re growing old together. When that happens I start to notice the changes, the moods and the seasons that that place goes through. Whitewater Canyon Preserve is one of those places for me and I hope that I can convince you that this is a place you’ll want to be friends with too.
At first glance everything seems to be in order. They have the standard restrooms, picnic area with tables and shade, a small fishing pond, ranger station and ample parking. A classic outdoor place for the family. They even offer guided walks for bird watchers and DSLR photographers! Nice touch!
But once you leave the safety of this civilized area, once you cross the river, then you will start to see the depth that this friend really has inside. Like John Muir once said you have to go out to go in and when you step out onto the trails here you’re doing just that, you’re going in to Whitewater Preserve.
The trail gets less colorful as you walk away from the parking lot. There are still patches of fall’s golden leaves here and there, but for the most part you realize that you’re in the desert. The sandstone canyon walls hover over you on one side and Whitewater River hums on the other. A friend of mine told me that before this area became a preserve him and his brothers used to go out here and like beavers, dam up a portion of the river to create a small pool to cool off in. Today all you have to do is put your hand in the water to feel that this is glacial, ice water and that enjoying a swim in it requires it to be a very hot day.
The day I went it was not very hot. Actually, the weather was perfect. Not a cloud in the sky and visibility was clear for miles. I could see Mt. San Jacinto with some snow on it and in another direction all the way down the canyon. I hiked Canyon Loop Trail, which is about 3.5 miles and it took me about 1.5-2 hours to complete (stopping a lot to take photos of course :) ). Most of the trails here are easy to moderate and are well marked so it’s hard to get lost.
Also, dogs are permitted on the trails and my little dog found them to be easy. So, if she could handle them then a bigger dog would find this to be a cake walk. The best views are really from the top so if you’re feeling tired and thinking that it’s not worth it to finish just hang in there. There is only one part of the trail that is steep and you’ll break a sweat but after that it’s enjoyable. Bring plenty of water and some snacks to help keep you comfortable too. What I like about this trail is not only the views but the quiet. I can’t hear the river bellow or much of anything else but my foot steps on the dirt and light winds. The day I went was especially calm and the solitude was refreshing. I did meet other hikers on the trail but most of them either turned back or were hiking from the opposite direction.
Overall my day with Whitewater Preserve was a perfect one. I mean at Whitewater :). See what I mean? It’s like spending time with a friend that wants to spend time with you. I didn’t run into any snakes or mountain lions and I didn’t get hurt or even sunburned. The whole day we were in sync. It sounds cheesy to say that I felt one with nature, but I can’t think of a better way to describe how this place made me feel. We’re not always on the same page though. Read my other blog post the last time I was here but that’s what I love about it. I’m always getting a new experience every time I revisit and that’s why I’ll keep coming back.