Read on --
Morongo Valley has this hike as a main (and only?) attraction. The upper highly maintained loops and board walks are scenic and fun and excellent, however, the out and back extension that makes this a 9 mile hike is rather average (I wouldn't do that part again since there are better ways to spend your time, like Whitewater loop). Definitely explore the touristy beginning part near the parking lot - it's great. There's actually a marshy area there complete with board walks and thickets! Pretty cool for the desert. Note -- no dogs even on leash - how rude!!
We did this hike today, didn't see any big horn sheep this time but we have in the past. We parked one car at the trail end and started at the preserve. To find the trail end, look for the gas pipeline markers about 1/4 mi or so east of Rt 62 on Indian Canyon. There's some equipment with a chain link fence by the road there. It's probably not allowed to park along this road but it's not posted keep out. The road is very rough so use a high clearance vehicle. Be careful not to leave valuables in your car here. My GPS said it was almost 6.5 miles from the preserve to Indian Canyon Rd. This is an easy hike with very little grade change. Lots of different birds at the beginning.
I've been coming to this park for 20 years and I've seen a lot of changes. There are marked walks/hikes from easy to moderate and some are actually wooden walkways. If you're in the area it's pretty cool to peep it. I noticed a lot of birds, a deer, and all sorts of vegetation. There are Mountain Lion warnings but I wouldn't let that stop you. There's a story of Willy Boy, one of the last outlaws hunted by a riding posse. They made a movie.
Went back and did the Canyon Trail which is a 9 mile out and back. The hike was fairly easy but the trail had been washed out from recent rainstorms. Check weather reports before you do this hike as it is in a wash 90% of the way and flash floods are frequent. We saw Big Horn Sheep and snakes. Lots of birds.
Very first thing I noticed was the warning sign about mountain lions!! There are several trails here. I took the trail left to the Yucca Ridge and went the outer loop to hit all the trails. If you do this it is appox 3 miles. You can take the Canyon trail once you get to the fence but it was a very humid day and that trail alone is a 9 mile out and back trail. Ill do that another day. As for the trails, they are VERY well marked. You will notice all the signs informing you of the various types of bushes tree and cacti. There was a huge storm a few days before I went and a few spots of the trail was damaged but it was still easy to figure out. Another thing that didnt go unnoticed was the landscape is still damaged from a brush fire several years ago. There was only one small steep climb but other than that these trails are relatively easy. Once I got into the brush and trees the temp dropped about 10-15 degrees. Beautiful landscapes and tons of birds. It's absolutely amazing to see this in the middle of the desert. A definite must do.
First thing I notice the place had a major brush fire. A lot of trees and shrubs were burnt, can't wait to return in Spring to see the difference. You can tell this is an awesome place just from the parking lot because of the trees and ground cover. If anybody is cruising through Hwy 62, and you have a couple hours to spare. You should stop by this place, it's worth seeing.
Note: There's no cost to park or hike. There are benches along the wood floor trail and trashcans only at the parking lot area. No restrooms or drinking fountains.