Travel Blog

White Water Canyon – Palm Springs

White Water CanyonOne of the great things to do in the Palm Springs area is hiking. There are many trails, most are groomed, but not monitored. Nor do they have guides and maps. The White water canyon area just outside of Palm Springs is different. There are guides and programs that you can take advantage of if you wish or you can just go hiking on your own and follow the trails.

White Water Canyon Location

This location is unique. The mountain water is diverted from the mainstream into 3 large pools of water where rainbow trout are stocked. There are literally hundreds of fish in these pools and they are reserved for fishing by children. Let’s face it there are not many places to fish in the desert.

This is one of the few places you can take your kids to fish and try out a new rod. Note: adults are not allowed to fish and the kids are asked to use barbless hooks so that the fish can be thrown back in without being harmed.

Another neat thing about this area is that there are actually mountain goats in the area. I have only seen them once and this was early in the morning when we arrived. Once it warms up they seem to seek cover from the sun so they are really hard to spot. Early in the morning, they are usually out and about.

Picnic Tables

There are picnic tables for anyone who wants to have a picnic with their families. There is lots of shade as well this is a really nice spot to spend an afternoon away from the heat of the desert. It is usually 10 to 20 degrees cooler in this area because of the elevation.

There is also limited camping in the area. Campers need to reserve a campsite, otherwise it is first come first serve.  There are not many sites so it is a good idea to call ahead. There are also volunteers at the site along with park wardens. They have lots of information about the area.

There is a large topographical map where you can view the roads, and the hiking paths and get an orientation of where you are. When we look at this map we were impressed with just how large the entire area is around the white water canyon and the overall drainage area of this particular stream.

This is one of the locations where you can also link up with the Pacific Coast trail which runs from the Mexican border all the way to Canada. The writer has not hiked on this particular trail, however, many people do every year and enjoy the scenic vistas that it presents. This is really for serious hikers only.

Canyon Formation

The White Water canyon area was formed and is still being formed by water runoff from melting snow caps in the mountains above the canyon as well as storm runoff. Everywhere you look you can see the results of the strong floods that have shaped this area.

These pictures show the wide swath the stream takes when it is at flood stage. At this particular time when we were there, which was Oct, the stream is fairly small and just dealing with snow melt from the nearby mountains.

There are small bridges built across the stream to make crossing easier. In most cases, though you just jump from rock to rock to get across any water areas. The park wardens are constantly monitoring the runoff and will make repairs whenever they are washed away by floods.

For more hiking places to consider, click here.


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