Because of bighorn lambing (breeding) season, the Carrizo Canyon Ecological Reserve is only open 3 months out of the year (October, November, December) making it extra special.
The trailhead is a 5 minute drive from the bustling El Paseo shopping district but you would never know it once you enter the pristine wilderness. The hike starts through a wide sandy wash filled with healthy Smoke Trees, creosote bush and Desert Willows.
Once you enter the mouth of the canyon, look up often, you have a really good chance of spotting a bighorn sheep, we did! When my husband saw the ram, it already had its eye on us. He’s so regal looking isn’t he? I have to say, all my years of living in the Coachella Valley and hiking, I’ve only seen a bighorn in the wild a couple of times.
Even if you don’t see a bighorn on this hike, you will see plenty of evidence that bighorn often roam the canyon floor!
Cholla and Barrel cactus line canyon walls and peppered along the tops, some very large Ocotillos. A lone California fan palm is the perfect spot for a rest before moving on to explore the falls.
All the falls are mostly dry unless we’ve had a pretty good rain. You can scramble the side of the first falls and explore several others complete with a small palm oasis and cottonwood trees.
Of note: 3 miles , moderate, takes approx 2 hours, no dogs