Big Morongo Canyon Preserve~

The Big Morongo Canyon Preserve is a verdant oasis in Southern California’s San Bernardino Mountains.

The 31,000 acre canyon is surrounded by desert,

and is one of California’s ten largest perennial oases.

The preserve is a riparian wilderness with Palm Trees, Cottonwood Trees and Willows, as well as a variety of native shrubs and flowers.

It is a critical wildlife corridor sheltering mountain lion, bighorn sheep, mule deer and bobcat.

It is also hosts up to 274 different varieties of birds during the spring and fall migrations.

The marsh like preserve is perpetually flowering even in late fall and winter.

Cheers to you from the happy wildlife at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve~

166 thoughts on “Big Morongo Canyon Preserve~

        1. Bakersfield is the nexus for Southern Californians traveling north, and Northern Californians heading south. It is a town leading to endless California possibilities.

    1. I am amazed you asked this question!
      Because this bird, a Northern Flicker, a type of woodpecker, is elusive at The Holler, and I am always trying to take a good photograph of them.
      The Holler woodpeckers basically never let me near, because they live in a place where acorns fall from trees like snow.
      They have all they need and avoid me.
      Smart birds.
      In other places, with less acorns, they fleetingly let me near.

    The last people to inhabit the canyon before the arrival of white settlers were the Morongos, a powerful clan of Serrano Indians. They lived peacefully in this canyon and surrounding valley until the mid-1800s.

    The preserve was the site of a large (>10 acre) historic “Maringa” (Morongo) Native American Serrano permanent settlement. The site, CA SBR‐561, is a large residential site with a continuous, dependable source of water. The valuable biotic resource assemblage that the water attracted, provided for ample food and manufacturing materials to support the view of it being a permanent Maringa Serrano residence for a long span of time. Present on the site are bedrock mortars, several types of ceramic wares, lithic tool stone debitage and numerous late period projectile points.

    Human remains were discovered on the site in 1994 that were not cremated, suggesting a greater age of the site since Serrano traditionally cremated their deceased in historic and ethnographic times. Little is known of the archaeological site, since no known ethnographic or historic accounts exist. The Serrano people who occupied this site had long before either left the area during the mission period, joining and merging with the populations of Cahuilla to the south and west on reservation lands, or had succumbed to European introduced diseases long before. The Warren homestead, established in 1885 by Mark and Sylvia Warren, is located adjacent to the preserve.

    1. It is incredible isn’t it. Much of this I didn’t know, like the human remains on the site. Thank you so much for enlightening me.
      We regularly find evidence of earlier people and walk the paths they walked, see the places they ground their acorns and buckwheat. When I was a kid I used to find arrowheads. Basically every beautiful place we walk in rural Southern California near perennial water was walked by those who walked before us, and evidence can be found of their presence with a careful eye. I have a post on ancient petroglyphs and metate I haven’t yet posted.
      It is horrible to think of what happened to these people when the Europeans came, what was done to them.
      Thank you so much for sharing this most moving information.

  2. I must encourage my son to check out your blog. He lives in LA now – and a lover of exploration…especially of parks and natural ‘anything’ really. I believe he has hiked every natural trail in and around LA and has ventured out to other areas – north and south. Plus he is a true lover of hiking and camping…..he would love to visit some of these lovely places you have photographed!

    1. Oh, wonderful. He sounds just like my son! If he wants any tips on out of the way places, tell him to stop by and say hello. I have lived in SoCal all my life and I am still finding new places.

  3. 31,000 acre canyon, it’s a good thing to preserve such a large canyon for wildlife. Thank you, Cindy for introducing this special place!

    1. Grad School doesn’t leave one with much wiggle room, so I fully relate. However, there is a long bright future stretching ahead of you, full of fascinating trails, and you may want to stretch your legs!

  4. This looks like another beautiful area to explore. It feels very inviting from your words and photos Cindy. I’m glad that California still has some wild preserves for animals and nature to thrive. I would love to hike and visit the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve!

  5. I can almost hear the birds calling, insects humming, and trees swishing in the breeze! Love the sight of that deer, too. Beautiful place to visit, and how thoughtful for them to add benches along the way!

    1. Thanks for asking! It is a Northern Flicker, a type of woodpecker. We have them at The Holler, but they are very shy and stay in the oak groves where they have unlimited supplies of acorns. I see them, but rarely ever am able to snag a photo. They are such pretty polka-dotted birdies!!

  6. This lovely place is calling to me. I have always loved the marshes of South Carolina. There is nothing so peaceful with the unusual vegetation and the wildlife protected there. I’ve spent many serene moments where the quiet is undisturbed except by an occasional flap of the wings or the sounds of crabs or the passing of deer. Absolutely beautiful post, Cindy!

    1. One good thing in SoCal are the military bases. They are set aside permanently for the military and consist of hundreds of miles of prime habitat. This saves big chunks of SoCal from development. If it weren’t for the bases and preserves, SoCal would be even more chewed up by developers.

  7. This looks amazing. I’m curious what palms are native or whether they just found a good place, or whether you were victimized by autocorrect…I’m putting this on my list for my next CA trip.

    1. The California Fan Palm is native to SoCal and grows all over the place, including The Holler, where seeds are carried by rain water and implant. In the preserve and other natural oases in the desert, these trees form gorgeous palm forests with natural water features. Date Palms were extensively planted for their fruit eons ago and they also self sow wherever there is water. They are around 10-11 types of palms that grow in California, but only the Fan Palm is native.

  8. Having difficulty downloading all wonderful photos and comments …. but what I see and feel is pretty darn awesome. Thank you Cindy for bring this to the world 😎🙏😎

  9. Love the shot of the deer checking to see if you got it’s best side. 😉 Those areas are so beautiful. I hope it’s getting enough rain so it won’t catch fire. Those things worry me.

    1. Thank you Marlene. We just got hammered by 5 storms in a row, so for for the first time in a long time, SoCal has enough water! However, the snow in the nearby mountains wiped out our wifi tower so we have no internet! I am at the library.

      1. I’m glad you have enough water finally. And snow in the mountains means water later in the year. But no wifi!!! Not nice of mother nature. 😉 They have been working on ours so it’s intermittent. That old saying, when it rains it pours, seems applicable here. ;( Hugs and enjoy the library.

  10. Oh Cindy… thank you so much for taking us on such wonderful journeys. Since I am unable to travel… how beautiful it is to have your most spectacular pictures and words to wander.
    A most beautiful day to you…

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