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“Huge Oasis, Excellent Birding”

Big Morongo Canyon Preserve
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US$149.00*
and up
Wildlands Preserve Nature Tour
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Tucked among the Little San Bernardino Mountains, this desert reserve is one of the largest of its kind in California.
Reviewed 1 June 2014

Big Morongo Canyon is a large oasis, among the 10 largest of its type in California, just off Hwy 62 in Morongo Valley just west of Joshua Tree National Park and about 15mi (24k) north of Palm Springs. While Big Morongo is an oasis, it distinctly different than the fan palm oases one will find nearby in Joshua Tree and the Indian Canyons; it is a cottonwood and willow riparian habitat more reminiscent of a marsh. Admission to the preserve is free, although there is a donations box, and there are trail guides and other pamphlets, including a birding list, available at no charge at the entrance. The trails consist five, short interconnecting loops from 0.65 to 0.84mi (1.0 to 1.4k) long with the wheelchair accessible Marsh Trail being an elevated boardwalk with benches and decks along the way, and the 8.3mi (13.5k) roundtrip Canyon Trail. We arrived midmorning and walked many of the shorter loop trails and found Big Morongo to be teeming with birds, lush with varied flora and a few small animals (squirrel, rabbit, and snake) with walks that are surprisingly shady for being in the middle of the desert. Marsh Trail and the companion numbered guide were quite interesting. It was certainly a worthwhile side trip during our visit to Palm Springs and Joshua Tree NP and worth a stop if one can make a little extra time and a must if a birder.

7  Thank Steve1362
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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55 - 59 of 90 reviews

Reviewed 9 April 2014

We enjoyed the day. Stopped off in Beaumont to get coffee at Cafe Agape. Great treat. Then to Big Morongo. We did the longer Canyon Trail hike, which was nice and solitary, but not that interesting. We came back on the Mesquite and Marsh trails - more interesting, but mostly on boardwalks. Finished by getting a late lunch at Pappy and Harriet's in Pioneertown and then visiting Pioneetown's Hollywood Western "back lot on location" in the late afternoon. It was a great day of variety and we plan to take my parents (in their 80s) on a field trip where we'll again stop on the way at Cafe Agape, wheel my mom (my dad is still active) around on the Marsh Trail boardwalk, grab lunch at Pappy and Harriet's and visit Pioneertown. It's a good outing for families, etc., especially since it's free. Parking might be a problem on the weekends. More serious hikers (like us) may prefer to do Joshua Tree, Painted Canyon, some of the trails on the Palm Springs side of Indian Canyon, etc. for better scenery with longer hikes.

1  Thank BrantonL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 April 2014

This a short drive outside Palm Springs on the way to Joshua Tree Park. There several short trails that connect, so walks can range from a less than half a mile to over two miles. The trails are well marked and perfectly safe for all ages. A small hill gives a good view over the oasis and the surrounding area. There are lots of lizards, birds, and rabbits. There are several designated bird-watching areas with benches. On a hot desert day, this is a nice cool place to take a break.

2  Thank Paul B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 January 2014

Had a lovely walk through the preserve. Saw lots of birds, a deer and some lizards. The trees offered lots of shade and it was very peaceful yet still an easy 30 mins from downtown Palm Springs. From the list of birds they provide for you to check off, I would think this is a must for serious bird watchers :)

1  Thank JudithfromOmagh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 December 2013

We visited the Big Morongo Reserve last weekend and had the place to ourselves. It has a very nice area for walking, and we will be returning to tr4avel the distance of the Canyon Trail as we didn't have the time to do the hike this trip.

Thank ccrowe3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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