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Whitewater Preserve’s Desert Streams

The road out east towards Joshua Tree National Park hides quite a few gems along its path. On our way out, we discovered Whitewater Preserve, a former trout farm turned recreation area nestled in the desert near Palm Springs.

Just off an exit by the famed windmill farms, you’ll find a windy dirt road to follow for just a couple miles before hitting the ranger station for Whitewater Preserve.

It was a pleasant surprise to find that this beautiful area was restored from black water cattle wallow into the crystal clear waters that we happened upon. And, it’s dog friendly! (With pups on leash, of course).

It was about 90°F when we arrived – just after noon with barely any clouds in sight. We prepped the dogs’ paws with Musher’s Secret to protect them from the burning hot pavement and sand. Thanks to our friend and outdoor recreation master @hellohoku for the tip!

There are a couple trails you can follow throughout the area, marked with signs and provided maps at the ranger station. We decided to track down the river (because what’s cooler than a natural stream in the middle of the desert?!).

Sure enough, the bubbly sounds of flowing water weren’t hard to come by as we ventured deeper down the sandy white path.

Cheebs was the first to splash into the stream. The water was SO clear and cool, the pups couldn’t help but lap up a few refreshing licks.

To our surprise, there were tons of tadpoles swimming around in the shallow stream in just about an inch deep of water. Cheebs didn’t even seem to notice them as she cooled down in the crystal clear waters.

We followed the river for a short mile or two, then made our way back to the ranger station for some shade and rest. The best part was ending the walk along the trail by dipping my feet in the pond at the head of the trail.

Who knew the desert held such secret treasures as waters that run cleaner than the shores of Venice beach?!

Emily is a Los Angeles based content creator with a passion for photography, videography, and storytelling. Through @emwng, you'll find photos and videos of people, places, delicious food, and of course, her two fluffy sidekicks Kokoro and Chibi.


  • May 22, 2017

    So glad the Musher’s helped! And thanks for letting us know about this place! We’ve driven past so many times and never realized it was here. I love discovering new dog-friendly gems near us :)

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