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Painted Rock Canyon Hike

February 26th, 2017

          Yesterday I joined my neighbors, Anna and Tom, for a Docent-led hike in Whitewater Preserve’s beautiful Painted Rock Canyon. I’d previously hiked the same route in January with Great Outdoors Palm Springs members. That hike occurred following earlier heavy rains and high water in the canyon’s stream prevented us from hiking the canyon’s full length.

          We met others near the Whitewater Preserve Ranger Station at 9:00 am. There were 17 members in our group including Bob, the Docent hike leader, and Kyle, a Ranger who acted as hiker “sweep” in the rear. All were warmly dressed and carried appropriate hiking gear. Skies were clear, a slight breeze felt with temperatures moderately cool and comfortably “just right” for hiking.

            Painted Rock Canyon Views

          Painted Rock Canyon is a rather narrow one that’s less than two miles in length. The hike to the canyon’s alluvial fan entrance is a mile, or so, from the Ranger Station. The path becomes rocky and gradually steeper as the canyon walls begin to narrow along the route. Two of the canyon’s noteworthy features are some “painted” rocks along the way and a waterfall at the canyon’s higher end. Along the way, Mother Nature’s rainbow-stripe rocks that we saw proved worthy of their “painted rock” designation.

                         Rainbow Rocks

                         Rainbow Rocks

          Water flowed in the stream running down the canyon and the path crossed it more than a dozen times. However, the water level was not high enough to impede our progress and we reached trail’s end and the waterfall area by midday. After spending time taking photos we moved a short distance away and stopped for a snack break.

          Retracing our steps down canyon we often paused for photos of the canyon walls, rocks and views towards the canyon exit. A brief pause was made to view a large rock sculpture next to the path. Others had built it and a close inspection revealed several interesting features. We left it untouched and continued our route until we arrived back at the Whitewater Preserve headquarters and parking lot around 2:30 pm.

     Rock Sculpture & Canyon Stream

          It was a very nice hike. All in our group proved to be good hikers and none failed to navigate the sometimes rocky path, stream crossings or other obstacles encountered along the way. We appear to have been the last canyon group starting that morning for, though we encountered a half-dozen groups during our hike up the canyon, we saw none during our return. The Painted Rock Canyon route proved to be an enjoyable hike. It’s a nice midday outing, provides a welcome relief from asphalt and concrete, and certainly qualifies as credit-worthy cardiovascular exercise.

Bond Shands
February 26, 2017
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