Monday, November 2, 2009

Mission Creek Preserve


The Mission Creek Preserve is part of the 33,000 acre Sand to Snow Preserve System. This includes the Pioneertown Mountains Preserve and is adjacent to the Whitewater Preserve. The Preserve gives access to the Pacific Crest Trail and the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area. To reach the Preserve, take Highway 62 North from I-10 and turn left on Mission Creek Road. Follow the road to the gate and park there.

After driving a few miles along the dirt road you come to this sign.

Beyond that is a locked gate topped by this sign.

There is very good signage at the beginning of the Preserve but later on, not so much.

There is a nice information board but, oddly enough, there's not a very good map for hikers. Later, I'll wish I'd had one.

Right inside the gate there are four little stone structures.

Inside each one there is a picnic table.

I didn't bring a lunch so I start hiking up the "trail". I really hate these trails that have tire tracks on them.

As I'm walking along I hear this weird sound and can't place it. I look down toward the creek and discover what's causing it: water.

A mile up the "trail" is the Painted Hills Wetlands. It is very lush with growth and an impassable thickets.

Beyond that is the parking area for the Stone House. I've got to find out how to get a key to that gate so I don't have to walk all this way next time.

The Stone House is a great structure with screen windows and doors without locks.

It's got a nice comfy chair on the porch.

The inside of the Stone House is spotless with some picnic tables.

There is also a fireplace but it's just for looks.

There are even restrooms.

With flush toilets! I was preparing to hold my breath in anticipation of the outhouse smell.

An old windmill and pump are also part of the property.

I continue on the "trail" up beyond this wilderness sign. This turns out to be a mistake because I should have taken a different route here but there wasn't a sign or map directing me in the proper direction. I found out later there is a section of private land ahead.

But when I got to this gate I wondered what was going on.

I followed this trail around the gate and down to the creek bottom. Upon returning, I found out I should have gone up a different fork of the creek to bypass the private land.

I hiked up the creek until I got to the PCT and had to turn around at that point.

It's too bad, too, because it was just starting to get interesting. Next time I'll know which way to go and I'll see if it's possible to drive just a bit further up the road. There's a lot of interesting terrain up here and I'd imagine in the springtime when there's snow on the surrounding mountains and the flowers are blooming that it is incredible. I'm looking forward to coming back.


darlene said...

my jaw dropped when i read the title of your monday entry. i am so glad you went! the secondhand info i have received on how to unlock the gate (thereby avoiding the initial roadwalk)is to call the nature conservancy and ask them to open the gates for you. i believe that is only an option on the weekend though. i accessed the pct by heading out of the top parking lot at the southeast corner. it would be cool to do a loop trip from there. park one car at mission creek preserve, and another at whitewater preserve. it probably wouldn't take too long, either. have a good hike today! from darlene

Dez said...

Thank you for this post. I plan on checking the preserve out this morning so this is great information.

Dez said...

Thank you for this helpful post.

Anonymous said...

In February at 75 degrees with a nice breeze, this hike was refreshing and relaxing. We hiked, talked and laughed with 6-of us and just enjoyed the desert terrain and beauty. We took the road up to the stone house, then hiked back by way of the creek which had lots of rushing water.
Your blog was really helpful as we knew exactly what to expect. Thank you!

Unknown said...

I only live a couple miles away (8+ years) Diablo rd. & just now heard of it, thanks!