Canyon View Loop

Whitewater Preserve

Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, California

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Canyon View Loop


  • Whitewater Preserve Trailhead.- Canyon View Loop
  • - Canyon View Loop
  • Telescope beside a wading pool that hikers can use to cool off.- Canyon View Loop
  • Hiker sign-in near the trailhead.- Canyon View Loop
  • Signs mark trail intersections.- Canyon View Loop
  • A portion of the well-marked trail along the wash.- Canyon View Loop
  • Wooden footbridges cross the Whitewater River. River levels will fluctuate depending on the season and mountain snow conditions.- Canyon View Loop
  • - Canyon View Loop
  • Climbing away from the river, the trail switches back and offers some panoramic views along the way.- Canyon View Loop
  • The San Jacinto Mountains rising just south of the preserve.- Canyon View Loop
  • The trail parallels the road for a short section, though there is a wide shoulder.- Canyon View Loop
  • One last crossing of the Whitewater River.- Canyon View Loop
  • - Canyon View Loop
Overview + Weather
Great views. Wildlife viewing.
No shade along trail.
This canyon is in an area of extreme flash flood danger. Do not enter this area if there are storms threatening upriver.
Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, CA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
525.00 ft (160.02 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Total Distance: 
3.50 mi (5.63 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,219.00 ft (676.35 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

The Canyon View Loop begins and ends at the ranger station in the Whitewater Preserve, and it crosses one of the few year-round rivers in the Mojave Desert at multiple points. The trial traces the wash before it joins a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail for a climb up some cactus-dotted hills that overlook the Whitewater River, and you'll have views of the western end of the Coachella Valley and the peaks of the San Jacinto Mountains. Keep a lookout for bighorn sheep that live in the adjacent craggy mountains. Also, be aware that there is no shade along the trail. Weather can be extremely hot during mid-day hours.

The trail leaves the ranger station and begins to travel along the wash of the Whitewater River, a year-round river and wildlife corridor between the San Bernardino Mountains to the north and the San Jacinto Mountains to the south. The river level fluctuates greatly depending on recent storms and snowmelt in the San Bernardinos. After crossing wooden footbridges over the flowing water you soon join the PCT for a short climb of about 500 feet onto a hill overlooking the area.

Over the final mile you will descend back down to the entrance road and cross the river one more time before tracing the wash back to the ranger station. 

Park for free in the Whitewater Preserve parking area. There is a ranger station with an interpretive center here along with bathrooms, trash cans, drinking fountains, covered picnic areas, and a wading pond to cool off. Dogs must be leashed while on preserve grounds. The parking area gate is unlocked and open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(23 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(55 within a 30 mile radius)

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