Rainbow Rock Canyon at Whitewater

General Palm Springs area.

Rainbow Rock Canyon at Whitewater

Postby zippetydude » Sun Apr 24, 2016 1:48 pm

I went back to Whitewater to explore a new canyon. The ranger said it's called Rainbow Rock Canyon. If you head north on the PCT from the preserve, a small trail branches off to the left (west) after about 1.25 miles. I had never noticed it before, so on a lark I explored it. The trail is narrow but easy to follow. After another mile or so, you come across a couple of large rocks.

ImageDSCN0311 by zippetydude, on Flickr

ImageDSCN0309 by zippetydude, on Flickr

These are not painted, but they are very much rainbow hued. I found them both remarkable and quite pretty. Continuing on, the canyon narrows. As it does so, the trail passes under a lone fir tree.

ImageDSCN0308 by zippetydude, on Flickr

As you near the headwall, the surrounding slopes are completely covered with wild grapes.

ImageDSCN0306 by zippetydude, on Flickr

ImageDSCN0304 by zippetydude, on Flickr

You pass under the arch of an old dead tree...

ImageDSCN0302 by zippetydude, on Flickr

...and arrive at last at a pretty little waterfall that splashes down the headwall.

ImageDSCN0296 by zippetydude, on Flickr

Absolutely no on on the trail the whole time I was there, and there were not even any footprints. If you'd like a fairly short (7.5 miles round trip) very mild trail with only the easiest of uphill grades, some solitude, and a beautiful place to eat lunch, this is a nice choice. One word of caution: the trail is easy to follow but towards the top it is sufficiently overgrown that you would not easily spot a snake if one were lurking nearby. I wore lightweight kevlar snake chaps and was much more comfortable because I did. If you don't want to take such precautions, I bet the hike would be even prettier on a cool winter day when the hills are green and the waterfall is flowing even stronger.

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Re: Rainbow Rock Canyon at Whitewater

Postby scottmac » Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:48 pm

Up the rope and onward.

Photo below from February 2009.

I call it Nob Creek because it is below the Nob.

Image

The view from the Nob:

Image
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Re: Rainbow Rock Canyon at Whitewater

Postby cynthia23 » Wed Apr 27, 2016 1:45 pm

Oh Wow, what beautiful shots guys! Do you think this might be a kid friendly hike? I find their enthusiasm goes up relative to the amount of waterfalls. :)
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Re: Rainbow Rock Canyon at Whitewater

Postby Wildhorse » Mon May 02, 2016 2:16 pm

It may be kid friendly. Before you get to the waterfall the way is sometimes overgrown with tangled grape vines, which are unfriendly to all ages. Otherwise, the hike is easy. It is a nice hike, even if you stop at the grapevines. I remember it being about four or five miles round trip.

We have encountered nude hikers there. They were friendly, and quite embarrassed. These days, the word is out about this little canyon. Not so much privacy now.

The wilderness near Whitewater contains many pleasant places, and offers much adventure off the beaten path. I try to forget where they are so I won't mention them accidentally and so I may enjoy the pleasure of discovering them again some day. I have returned from the area many times as exhausted as I have ever been hiking.
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Re: Rainbow Rock Canyon at Whitewater

Postby cynthia23 » Mon May 02, 2016 3:44 pm

Thanks Ken, good info to know. I'm lazy enough that I hardly ever take the trouble to drive over to Whitewater, but I'm always glad when I do.
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Re: Rainbow Rock Canyon at Whitewater

Postby zippetydude » Mon May 02, 2016 6:44 pm

Hi Cynthia. It is definitely mild enough for kids to handle. The question would be whether they would want to go on a 7+ mile round trip hike. The waterfall is nice but it is very small, not a Yosemite experience here!

Thanks for the pics from the Nob Scottmac. The view looks like it is probably worth the additional climb, though your winter trip makes more sense than doing it in summer when it's overgrown.

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