Description - Set among the San Bernardino Mountains the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve is one of the ten largest cottonwood and willow riparian habitats in California. Numerous trails, including boardwalk trails through the marsh and stream habitats, meander through the 29,000-acre preserve, which is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
- Big Morongo is a wildlife refuge and National Watchable Wildlife Site. At least 235 species of birds have been observed here along with desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, raccoons, bobcats, and foxes. A variety of snakes and lizards are also found within Big Morongo Canyon Preserve.
Preserve programs and displays seek to provide educational opportunities for children, youth, and adults to further their understanding of desert and marsh ecosystems, and the function and importance of a preserve on local, regional, and global levels. Hiking trails, including boardwalks through marshlands, range from less than half a mile up to an 11-mile round trip hike into the Canyon Preserve.
The preserve is open daily throughout the year from 7:30 AM to sunset. Ideal times to visit are fall, winter and spring. Trail maps and guides, picnic facilities and restrooms are available. Donations welcome - admission is free. School groups encouraged -- teacher guides available. The adjoining Covington Park offers large group picnic facilities. Call Morongo Valley Community Services District for details (see Contact Information for phone number). Dogs prohibited at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve.
Recreation - Visitors enjoy hiking trails, ecology trails, nature study, and bird watching.
Climate - A warm, dry Mediterranean climate prevails over Southern California - inland it is generally hot in the summer and mild in the winter. During the summer, valley temperatures can soar above 100 degrees while remaining pleasant in the mountains. Most of the precipitation comes as rain during the winter months. During the winter months higher elevations experience snow and freezing temperatures.
Big Morongo Canyon Preserve is located north of Interstate 10 off State Highway 62 about half a mile southeast of Morongo Valley.