Error message

Lingotek profile ID 4 not found.
Big Morongo Wildlife Reserve VC_Kidifornia_FreeAttractions_Module_BigMorongo_Stock_ED_73862890_1280x640
David McNew/Getty Images

Big Morongo Wildlife Reserve

Big Morongo Wildlife Reserve
See a desert oasis that’s home to rabbits, kangaroo rats and even bighorn sheep

This easy-access desert oasis offers the chance to explore a diverse landscape and see a lot of desert critters up close. Set between Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park in the Little San Bernardino Mountains—in a valley that links the Mojave and Colorado deserts—this 147-acre reserve is part of the Big Morongo Canyon. Its elevation ranges from 600 to 3,000 feet, which results in a wide array of flora and fauna.

Hike one of the trails, which range in length from almost 1km to a 17km round-trip and include some boardwalk paths (one that’s wheelchair-accessible) through the stream and marsh habitats. You might easily spot a variety of rabbits, kangaroo rats, coyote, mule deer and possibly even bobcats and bighorn sheep. Kids who like creepy-crawlies should keep an eye out for whiptail and side-blotched lizards, Gilbert’s skink and California tree frogs.

Look up and you can see why the preserve has been designated an Important Bird Area by the American Bird Conservancy. Especially during spring and fall migration, you can see representatives of some 240 species, including such rare birds as Vermilion Flycatchers and Least Bell’s Vireo. Indeed, autumn, winter and spring are the prime times to visit, when the average temperatures range between 15-26 degrees. 

Big Morongo Wildlife Reserve VCW_D_PalmSprings_T12__IndianWellsResort_KG_1280x642_sized
Kodiak Greenwood

Southern California

Discover the Deserts

Big Morongo Wildlife Reserve vca_maps_deserts_0
17
November
Average (°C)
Sept - Nov
37°
High
16°
Low
Dec - Feb
20°
High
6°
Low
Mar - May
33°
High
11°
Low
June - Aug
41°
High
21°
Low

The thwack of a golf club, the hum of the wind buffeting towering sand dunes, the splash of a dive into a perfect pool—the desert region is a sensory feast.

Following winter rains, springtime wildflowers paint the desert with colour.

Death Valley National Park holds the record for hottest temperature ever recorded (129°F/54°C in 1913), while the deserts of Joshua Tree National Park have giant boulders and alien-like yucca plants. At Anza-Borrego, California’s largest state park, discover amazing springtime wildflowers. The oasis-like Palm Springs region (2 hours east of L.A. and 3 hours northeast of San Diego) has golf resorts, midcentury modern architecture, and every spring, the epic Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Big Morongo Wildlife Reserve VCW_D_DE_T1__DE_DeathValley_Flippen_1280x642
At 282 ft. below sea level, Badwater in Death Valley National Park is the lowest point in the contiguous United States.
Big Morongo Wildlife Reserve LaQuinta_sized_1280x642
Lucas Himovitz

Luxury Resorts in the Desert

Relax at spoil-yourself spas under the desert sun

Pampering just comes with the territory in the California desert. Maybe in the old days, desert visitors had to pack in supplies and sleep on the...

This is the sense of the desert hills, that there is room enough and time enough.
Mary Austin
A boutique in the California Deserts region
Laura Flippen

Desert Shopping

From boutiques to bargains, vintage to boho-chic, you’ll find it here

In-the-know visitors make sure to come to the Palm Springs area with room in their suitcases. Bargain hunters beeline for the town of Cabazon,...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

Big Morongo Wildlife Reserve Shopping_SpecialFeature_preview_686x885_0
South Coast Plaza
Big Morongo Wildlife Reserve VCW_D_DE_T8_DE_PS_GolfCourse_KG
Kodiak Greenwood

Golf & tennis

Swing clubs and racquets where the pros do in the Coachella Valley

With world-class golf courses set against dramatic desert landscapes and top-quality tennis courts beneath towering palms, two sports get classy...

Big Morongo Wildlife Reserve VCW_D_DE_ElvisHouse_1280x642
Courtesy of Elvis Presley Estate

Mid-Century Modern Design

Swing into Sinatra cool in Palm Springs

Filled with distinctive post-World War II buildings designed by leading architects of the time, Palm Springs is America’s Mid-century Modern mecca...

Big Morongo Wildlife Reserve VCW_D_DE_T8_DE_PS_GolfCourse_KG_0
The lowest golf course in the world is Furnace Creek in Death Valley, at 214 feet below sea level.
SPECIAL FEATURE
From edgy rock n’ roll to haute fashions, find your fest in the desert

For all of the desert’s natural splendor and outdoor destinations, creativity comes with the territory, too. Throughout the year, the region finds ways to celebrate art, design, music, and film...

Big Morongo Wildlife Reserve Lumineers_Coachella_2013_sized
The Lumineers at Coachella by Lucas Himovitz
LGBTQ Party in Palm Springs
David A Lee

LGBTQ Travel in the Deserts

Experience a scene that really heats up when the weather starts to cool down

Fabulous pool parties. Stylish bars and impeccably designed hotels. Pampering spas and energetic nightclubs. Lavish events. There’s no question...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Vast landscapes, spectacular desert vistas

Both vast and intimate, the California desert is a region that ranges from arid, barren expanses to oasis-like canyons with hidden waterfalls. Towering sand dunes rise above the desert floor,...

Big Morongo Wildlife Reserve JTree_Preview_Farnum_preview_686x885
Joshua Tree National Park by Alex Farnum
Big Morongo Wildlife Reserve VCW_SI_T6_AmboyCrater_BureauofLandManagement_1280x642
Courtesy of Bureau of Land Management

Amboy Crater

Hike into a 6,000-year-old volcanic remnant

Hike into a 6,000-year-old volcanic remnant

Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973 and located just off historic Route 66, Amboy...

Big Morongo Wildlife Reserve FossilFalls_GreaterSouthwesternExplorationCo_1280x642
Photo by The Greater Southwestern Exploration Company/Flickr

Fossil Falls

Rushing river, sculpted black lava

The truth is that the name Fossil Falls is a bit of a misnomer. After all, there are neither fossils nor a waterfall here. But a walk through...