Thursday, November 8, 2018

Big Morongo Canyon Preserve

Big Morongo Canyon Preserve doesn't get its fair share of recognition. It's just south of Highway 62 in the tiny village of Morongo Valley. It's not particularly well marked, and the vast majority of people zip by it on their way to Joshua Tree National Park with out even knowing what they've passed. But it's a very cool spot, and very much worth a visit.
The Preserve has year-round water. As you walk along the trails and boardwalks that crisscross the area, you frequently feel like you are a long way from the desert. It's easy to find shade and a bench to relax on, and it's rarely crowded.

These plants with small yellow flowers were in bloom all over the Preserve. I decided to carry only my 100-400 telephoto zoom lens for this outing, which turned out to be a good choice. I love being able to zoom in on things and get a nice blurry background.

Cottonwood trees are commonly seen throughout the Preserve. This one appears to be covered with a parasite, perhaps desert mistletoe? Blue skies with light cloud cover, so a perfect day to hike and explore!


Cousin Scott, the intrepid nature photographer, just spent a couple days with me. This was one of three great hikes we took. More to follow!



There are a number of trail choices at the preserve. This one took us into an area surrounded by mesquite brush. It looked like it would eventually take us up into the foothills, but we didn't follow it that far.

The Preserve shares its borders with the new Sand to Snow National Monument, which is very cool!

Here kitty kitty!!
I'll leave you with this shot of a woman cleaning the roof of the education center at the Preserve. Not a real mountain lion, but it made me do a double take!!

The Preserve is free, with plenty of parking, bathrooms, and trails to explore. Be sure to pack water and come prepared to spend a couple hours hiking the area. Because of year round water, the Preserve is a critical habitat for bighorn sheep, birds, coyote, and even mountain lion. Dogs are not allowed at the preserve, even on a leash.

Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!!

40 comments:

  1. Beautiful pictures. That last one was scary, until you said the lion wasn't real ;-)

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  2. I thought the cat was real in the last pic too! So nice to get out when the weather's nice to hike! It's not quite as hot here now too! Enjoy your evening!

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  3. It looks like quite a rugged but appealing area to explore.

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  4. Beautiful pictures. I too thought that the mountain lion was real :-)

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  5. A place with water in the desert is always great. This looks like something to see.

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  6. I never heard of this place though I have been to Joshua Tree several times. Your yellow flower looks like rabbit brush. My friends who were hunters said that when it blooms it meant it was time for deer hunting. To me it always means the end of summer.

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  7. A beautiful area and different kind of photos to the beautiful desert scenes you usually show. I bet it was nice to have your cousin for company on several hikes. That last photo would make me do a double take too if I came across the scene in person. Have a wonderful weekend.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, and very observant of you to notice I was out of my "usual" desert element of rocky boulders and related areas in Joshua Tree National Park.

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  8. Looks a very neat place to visit and I see what you mean about the lion

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  9. Another little jewel in the desert. Nice to know.

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  10. Interesting post with wonderful pictures.
    I wonder if you've showed some blooming flowers before ...

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Jan, and not too many flowers in most of my posts. Seems like I'm always focused on the big horizons and sky shots!

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  11. What a beautiful place to hike. Love your photography.

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  12. Hello, looks like a fabulous nature preserve. Beautiful collection of photos. The mountain lion looks real. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

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  13. Did not know there was mistletoe in the desert! If I was paying attention, I probably could have got some kisses. :-)

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  14. Great use of your telephoto lens. I have only one myself, a 16-300mm and am quite happy with it [except it is f/5.6 and not so good in low lighting].

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  15. Another lovely place to explore and such creative photos ~ ^_^

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  16. What a neat place to venture out into. I like the images you took. I like to do shots with a blurry background too
    MB

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  17. A wonderful place to explore, awesome photos!

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  18. My father was raised on a farm regularly visited by cougars like this one.

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  19. Spare Parts, the “kitty” photo caught my attention. Thank for sharing.

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  20. Well, as it happens, my husband retired today. I'm still working (for the foreseeable future) but...California has been calling me (haven't been there since 1996) and this preserve, I think, would be something we would both enjoy.

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  21. I always enjoy visiting nature preserves. They usually have the best wildflowers and birds as well as views. I'm surprised dogs are not allowed om leashes. That is always a subject on contention here in Colorado as everyone seems to have a dog and they bring them along everywhere. It can be problematic when people leave them off the leash, contrary to rules.

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  22. Famous photos and: I like the kitty!
    Enjoy your weekend

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  23. I would love to see it... I wish we'd known about this and some of the other places you've told us about when we were living in OC a long time ago.

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  24. I am sure you and your cousin enjoyed the hikes. The big kitty (lion) even though not real looks scary!

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  25. Beautiful captures, specially of the big cat!

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  26. Those wildflower photos are really good!
    Hope you are having a great weekend!

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  27. Big Morongo Canyon Preserve is on my list of places to visit this winter. Thanks for your photographic introduction to this oasis in the desert.

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  28. Beautiful place! We need to get back there soon. Was the scrub jay in the parking lot? He likes to greet visitors.

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  29. Yahoo, another great outing.

    Tell the cuz hey from Florida

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  30. It's very pretty in there and the shade would be welcome! Your cousin looks like an intrepid explorer in that first picture, bushwhacking his way along (toward a perfect picture opportunity?)

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  31. A nice change-up from your normal terrain. I liked the flora!

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  32. A different kind of post today. Flora and fauna. No rocks! That is a funny photo of the fake mountain lion. I bet he has fooled a few photographers. I'd love to see the real thing in the wild. (from a safe place)

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  33. Beautiful pictures of the cotton blooming !

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