Protected by the Wildlands Conservancy, Mission Creek Preserve spans more than 4,700 acres between the Sonoran and Mojave deserts. Endemic flora and fauna of both deserts can be found in the preserve, which also includes wetlands and a picturesque stream running through. Many species of wildlife call the preserve home, including deer, bears, big horn sheep and mountain lions.
The majority of people who visit Mission Creek Preserve do so for its incredible hiking. Views of eroded painted hills and Mount San Gorgonio are offered up as a reward for a hiker's efforts. The main trail leads to the Pacific Coast Trail and to the Whitewater Preserve, another area protected by the Wetlands Conservancy. Veering off the Mission Creek Preserve trail up to the top of the Whitewater Preserve offers spectacular views of the Whitewater Valley below.
The Mission Creek Preserve hike can be started from the main gate at the entrance or at a stone house accessible via path. There is no visitor’s center at the preserve, so hikers are on their own. From the gate, the roundtrip hike is 8.4 miles; from the stone house, it is 5.2 miles. Other destinations worth visiting in the area include Andreas Canyon, as well as the Lost Horse Mine and Barker Dam in Joshua Tree National Park.