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Canyon View Loop

[content courtesy of the Outdoor Project]

Features: 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.

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.

Driving Directions:

  • From Indio, CA, head west on I-10. Continue driving for approximately 29 miles.
  • Take exit 114, turning right onto Tipton Road. Drive for approximately .2 miles.
  • Turn left on Whitewater Canyon Road.
  • Follow Whitewater Canyon Road for approximately 5 miles until it dead ends in the parking area at the Whitewater Preserve Ranger Station.

Trail Directions: 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.


Caution: Weather and road conditions can change in an instant. Always check with the managing agency before embarking on a trip. Always hike with a friend and carry a cell phone for emergencies. Bring plenty of drinking water, food, and clothing for changing weather conditions. Let someone know where you are going and when you intend to be back. Remember, California’s wild places are beautiful but they can also be dangerous to the unprepared and unwary. The California Wilderness Coalition assumes no liability if you intend to visit any of the wild places featured in our materials.