Rainbow Rock Canyon is a 6.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Whitewater, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until October.

Distance: 6.3 miles Elevation Gain: 1,112 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

lake

river

views

over grown

off trail

no shade

It has been reported that the road to this trail head is currently closed. Please check ahead before setting off for the trail. Note: This trail is not a defined or maintained trail. It is not included in the official trail map at the visitor center. It is a wilderness hike on BLM public land that has become popular over time. Additionally the "waterfall" can be difficult to access and is ephemeral, only flowing seasonally. Many visitors do this hike only to be disappointed. It is also used often by hunters during Fall deer season which can be a deterrent for some hikers. Rainbow Rock Canyon is frequented by many feral cattle that can be aggressive. Please use caution when hiking.

hiking
no shade
over grown
scramble
washed out
1 month ago

hiking
off trail
over grown
rocky
washed out
3 months ago

hiking
no shade
washed out
3 months ago

This trail branches off of the PCT, but it is not marked, so the All Trails app is helpful. The trail is also washed out in a few places. Near the end of the trail are beautiful rainbow colored boulders. Although it is rated “Moderate”, I would rate it easy until the end.

hiking
off trail
over grown
washed out
4 months ago

Difficult to find trail off main one to start with. Nice rainbow colored rocks then hard to stay on trail to the end due to the flood of 2019 that washed out most of the end. Found water at the back but not able to finish due to the trail being washed out completely.

hiking
closed
10 months ago

road to access trail is closed as of late June. unsure of when it will open again.

hiking
Mon Feb 11 2019

Great little hike. Lots of water the second half/ too much water to climb the ladder/ but this gives me a reason to comeback and do it again. When you see the lonesome pine you are almost there.

hiking
Sun Feb 03 2019

I’ve done this hike twice, very different each time. Very hot the first time and less water flow so we could climb the ladders at the end. The 2nd time there was a lot more water, too much to climb the ladders and a dozen creek crossings I don’t remember doing the 1st time. Of course the rainbow rocks remained the same

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
Sat Jan 26 2019

hiking
Mon Jan 21 2019

Loved this trail! Had to make several stream crossings the last mile or so through the canyon, as the water levels are quite high, but very doable and not deep. We saw a flock of 4 Big horn sheep on our way back. They are hard to spot, listen carefully for falling rocks. I recommend downloading the All Trails Map because there are no signs for this trail. However, it was easy to follow. There are bugs near the water, but we weren’t bit at all. Only ran into two other people. Highly recommend!

hiking
Sun Jan 13 2019

Gate opens at 8. No entry fee. No pass needed. Gradual incline. January is a great time to go. Saw more people as the day went on. Saw a bobcat and a few rabbits. Rainbow rocks start about 3 miles in. Small waterfall but worth the effort to find it.

hiking
Tue Dec 18 2018

Beautiful hike . Gradual incline. windy going up and rewarded with a hidden waterfall at the end.

Thu Nov 22 2018

Was absolutely beautiful hike. Trail not marked by the preserve but able to find and follow on all trails. At the end is a beautiful waterfall!! Well worth the hike!! Lots of beautiful scenery. Can’t wait to come back when there is more water.

Mon Oct 22 2018

love this hike

hiking
Sat May 05 2018

Really appreciated the beautiful transitions this trail had to offer. The moment I pulled up to the gate (got there 20 minutes before opening) I could see Bighorn high on the cliff sides surrounding the parking/picnic area. Started along the Pacific Crest Trail then branched off towards Rainbow Rock Canyon. Rock colors and striations were cool, but keep going....the best is yet to come. Dense green foliage and a nice multi tiered waterfall, complete with a ladder and ropes to get a full sense of immersion. Great, easy/moderate hike. You’ll need lots of bug repellent for the last half mile.

Wed Apr 04 2018

Bring bug spray because the closer you get to the waterfall the more bugs you encounter! There are trees to hang your hammock :) I would highly recommend this trail

hiking
Sun Jan 07 2018

Great hike. Not that moderate due to steady elevation gain. Trail is getting narrower and can be camouflaged. Also crossing tiny creek often when approaching waterfall which recommending use waterproof boots. Waterfall still flows as Jan 6, 2018 after 6+ months of no rain in desert. Amazing!

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

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