Whitewater Preserve


The Whitewater Preserve is a great place to visit if you are traveling through the Palm Springs and Joshua Tree areas.  The preserve has the Whitewater River which runs year-round going through it which supplies water to its pools. The canyon has a robust population of bighorn sheep, deer, bears, and is an important wildlife corridor between the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains. 


The Whitewater Preserve is a great day trip for any van or RV nomad looking to explore the desert and the pools at the preserve. The preserve is 2,851 acres and is surrounded by the Bureau of Land Management’s San Gorgonio Wilderness.

The preserve is free to enter, and there are two pools, but no swimming is allowed. There’s a few picnic table to utilize along with a restroom. It makes a great place to hike, chill out and spend the day.


There are multiple trails that lead from the preserve but the main one is the Loop Trail. The Loop Trail is over 4 miles long and gains around 600+ feet in elevation. The trail actually uses a section of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

There’s no shade on the trail and is a little steep when it climbs the mountain but is a good overall hike. Just make sure you don’t hike it in the heat of summer and if you do, bring plenty of water.


On Whitewater Canyon Road leading to the preserve, there’s some BLM camping land along the side of the road. Make sure you check out iOverlander for the exact locations.


There is a large parking lot at the preserve that can accommodate your van or RV. There are also a few parking spots at the trailhead along the road leading up to the preserve. 

  • Free
  • Open 8 am to 5 pm

References and Links:


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