Sand to Snow

Hike the Sand to Snow National Monument

The Sand to Snow National Monument, comprising 154,000 acres connecting Joshua Tree National Park and the San Bernardino National Forest, is the closest to Los Angeles among Obama’s newly designated monuments. Its centerpiece is the 11,500-foot peak of Mount San Gorgonio (the highest in all of SoCal), but a hidden gem exists in the area’s 2,850-acre Whitewater Preserve. The preserve has a myriad of trails, including the beautiful 3.75-mile Canyon View Loop Trail, which incorporates a section of the PCT. The hike begins at the ranger station and campground (which is free!), near ample signs, a trout pond, and a telescope that may reward with close-ups of the elusive bighorn sheep, residents of the towering fanglomerate cliffs to the east. The cliffs are also currently home to two nesting peregrine falcons. After crossing the trickling Whitewater River, follow signs for the PCT trail south (or if you’re up for a 3-mile round-trip detour, head north to the Red Dome, a unique basalt rock rich in iron). Continue on the PCT south, gaining nearly 1,000 feet in elevation and bringing incredible views of the canyon and surrounding San Gorgonio and San Jacinto mountain ranges. As you begin your descent, keep an eye out for spring blooms, including Indian paintbrush, yellow desert poppy, purple phacelia, and white cryptantha. The trail merges with the road for a short distance before signs direct you to a sandy path hugged by willows and leading back to the parking lot. Sand to Snow puts on a good spring show!

To get to the ranger station and parking lot, take I-10 east from LA/San Bernardino and exit at Whitewater. Make a left on Tipton Rd., followed by a left on Whitewater Canyon Rd., which dead-ends at the lot after a few miles. Dog-friendly!

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Bouquet of Waterfalls

    Like a good love letter, some of the best hiking trails are short and sweet. Cue the hike to Bouquet Falls in Santa Clarita Valley’s Bouquet Canyon.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    New Rules of the Trail

    As some parks around California begin to re-open, we came up with tips for being responsible on your outdoor adventures. Let’s do our part so we can all keep enjoying the parks.

    View
  3. Image that represents the story

    Big Time Hike

    This is the largest grove of giant sequoias in Yosemite. We recommend this grand tour hike at 7.5 miles which includes a spectacular overlook.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    All Roads Lead to Rogue

    Idea for your next road trip: Go Rogue! The Rogue Valley in beautiful Southern Oregon has some of the state’s best hiking, swim holes, and wineries, and the charming historic towns of Ashland, Medford, and Jacksonville.

    View

Trending Stories Northern CA

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Tam Slam!

    This 8-mile (round-trip) hike is a pure classic, with redwoods, water-flows, and soaring views of the coastline. Oh yeah, and that ladder!

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Easiest Best Hike in the World

    Choose the easiest and most view-rewarding hike in Yosemite. Okay, we’ll go first: the combination of hiking to Sentinel Dome and Taft Point. Both of these lookouts are within a couple miles of each other on Glacier Point Road

    View
  3. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    Road Trip Ahead: Oregon Outback

    Remote open spaces, camping under true Dark Skies, hiking and biking trails galore, wildlife refuges, and hot springs! Plan your road trip to the Oregon Outback this summer.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    Nice Ring to It

    This tiny but mighty open space preserve on the Tiburon Peninsula can often exhibit a wide range of wildflowers late into the season, not to mention one of the most jaw-dropping views of the bay.

    View