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Credit 1 Pam Starr
2 Alyn Robert Brereton
3 Julie MacKinnon
4 Linda Pittman
5 Parham Pourahmad
6 Larry Whiting
7 Randall Finley
Visitation: 80,000
Area: 31,000 Acres
Lat: 34.046735
Lon: 116.555088
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Top Banner Photo Credits
Pam Starr
Alyn Robert Brereton
Julie MacKinnon
Linda Pittman
Parham Pourahmad
Larry Whiting
Randall Finley
Big Morongo Canyon Preserve - Site # 31
One of the Mojave desert's largest cottonwood and willow woodlands lines a creek favored by raccoons, ringtails, great-horned owls, and many songbirds, such as the vermilion flycatcher, brown crested flycatcher, and summer tanager.
PremiumPremium - the most significant sites, worth visiting if you have limited time. Premium sites have high wildlife values year-round, staff on site, interpretive programs and/or displays, and well-developed facilities.

Background: This narrow canyon oasis in the Little San Bernardino Mountains sustains five plant communities and about 250 bird species. Trails lead past cat's claw and Mojave yucca that conceal Gambel's quail, white-tailed antelope squirrels and side-blotched lizards. Loggerhead shrikes, northern mockingbirds, and western scrub jays perch among California junipers. Seemingly barren, the desert washes hide cactus wrens, phainopeplas, Merriam's kangaroo rats, and a variety of snakes. One of the Mojave desert's largest cottonwood and willow woodlands lines a creek favored by raccoons, ringtails, great-horned owls, and many songbirds, such as the vermilion flycatcher, brown crested flycatcher, and summer tanager. In the summer, watch here for rare peninsular bighorn sheep at dawn and dusk. Look for nesting Virginia rails, marsh wrens, and common yellowthroats from the marsh boardwalk. Nearby fields attract Say's phoebes, Cassin's kingbirds and several birds of prey.
The Morongo fault running through the canyon causes water draining from the surrounding mountains to form Big Morongo Creek and the marsh habitat. At 31,000 acres with elevations ranging from 600 feet on the canyon floor to 3000 feet at the top of the ridge, this diverse landscape has been an important part of the Morongo Basin's natural and cultural history for almost two billion years. For centuries, nomadic tribes used Big Morongo Canyon as an easy route between the high and low deserts. The last people to inhabit the canyon before the arrival of white settlers were the Morongos, a powerful clan of Serrano Indians. In 1862 smallpox destroyed more than half the Indian population of Morongo Valley. Survivors were moved to a reservation near Banning, and Big Morongo Canyon became a working ranch, passing from one rancher to another until 1968.

The Habitat: The cottonwood oasis and marsh is one of the largest in the Mojave desert. The Preserve also includes transitional areas representative of the Sonoran Desert and coastal environments.

The Experience: This is one of the largest water sources for wildlife in the Mojave Desert.

Wildlife and Where to Find It: Nature trail, accessible, .5 mile, easy.

Viewing Tips: Best viewing is from late March to mid-May. Seventy-two nesting bird species, many accidentals. Songbirds are seen year-round, best viewed in spring. Moderate probability of seeing birds of prey and upland birds year-round. Watch for small mammals and predators year-round, at dawn and dusk. Reptiles are seen from spring through fall. Cottonwood Trail is universally accessible. HOT SUMMER WEATHER.

Site Notes: Eight miles of trails, including the .5 mile Marsh Nature Trail, provide a close look at the unique desert oasis. Guided birdwalks are presented year round. Call for schedule and times.

Nearby Viewing Sites: Joshua Tree National Park San Gorgonio Wilderness

Festivals & Events: Spring Festival

Visitor Information: Calfiorna Welcome Center, Yucca Valley - (760) 365-5464 - http://www.visitcwc.com/destinations/yuccavalley/index.php
Viewing Site Hours of Operation are:
Staff On-site: Yes
Open: Everday
Hours: 7:00 am to Sunset
Year Round: Yes

Road Information:   Paved. 
 Roads available year-round.
Road Hazards: NO
 Number of Parking Spaces: 50
Parking Fee: No
Proximity to viewing area:Yes
 Pull-Through Parking: Yes
Parking Notes: 

How to Get There: Northwest of Palm Springs on Interstate 10, take Highway 62 north to Morongo Valley. Turn right on East Drive, continuing 3 blocks to entrance.

Contact Information
Managing Agency: Bureau of Land Management
Agency Site URL: www.bigmorongo.org
Physical Address:11055 East Drive
Morongo Valley, CA 92256
Agency 2:PO Box 780
Morongo Valley, CA 92256
Manager Phone:(760) 251-4840 Contact Us:by Email
Site Phone:(760) 363-7190
County: San Bernardino, Riversid
Addition Website: