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Big Morongo Canyon Preserve
Big Morongo Canyon Preserve in California is not to be missed on your way up to Joshua Tree from Palm Springs and low desert. As you climb the hill on the freeway, you will find this wonderful 31,000 acre oasis about half way up the Little San Bernardino Mountains. It lies in a transition zone between the lower Sonoran desert, higher elevation Mojave desert and the highest point in the San Bernardino Mountains, San Gorgonio Peak. The Morongo fault cuts a deep canyon through the Preserve. There is a large spring and marshy area is an incredibly important migration stop for many bird species, and ornithologists come from around the world to this internationally recognized birding site.
Transition zones are notorious for hosting a wide array of plant life and the Preserve is no exception. It has one of the largest stands of cottonwood and desert willow that you can find in California, as well as other riparian plants. Annual wildflowers can be found both at the spring an on the surrounding dry hillsides with succulents and other shrubs.