Into the Field: Birding Hike at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve

Past Event

Join an expert birder for a bird-watching field trip to the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. Big Morongo Canyon Preserve has been designated as one of the United States’ Important Bird Areas by the American Bird Conservancy, the American Birding Association, and Watchable Wildlife National Program, and is featured in the National Geographic Guide to Birdwatching Sites. It is just over 28 miles and 30 minutes from Sunnylands Center & Gardens. With flowing water year-round, it is a bird magnet.

Participants will walk on packed dirt trails, boardwalks, in open grassy areas, a mesquite “forest,” a cottonwood and willow riparian area, and a county park. The hike is approximately two miles with minimal elevation gain.

Participants will meet in the overflow parking lot of Sunnylands Center & Gardens at 7:30 am on the day of the hike. The caravan will leave Sunnylands and drive to the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. A waiver is required for all off-site activities. The waiver can be found HERE and will be collected when the group meets at Sunnylands Center & Gardens. The walk will conclude at 12 pm.

Close-toed shoes, hat, sunscreen, and water are essential. Binoculars, cameras, and snacks are optional.
Participants may bring a lunch; there are picnic tables at the preserve.

Sunnylands will be closed to the public on the date of this program. No restrooms or facilities will be available.

Fee: $25 per participant. 20 participants max.
Subject to cancellation due to low enrollment (if there are less than 3 guests).
You may purchase tickets HERE.

Reservations for this event will not be accepted after 3/20/20 at 4:30 pm.

Leading this hike will be Mark Leggett.

Hawaii is home for Mark Leggett. On the Islands, he developed an early interest in birds. He honed his skills in Indiana, where he was a long-time public library administrator. While retired in Sarasota, Florida, Mark was very active in birding and the local Audubon chapter. He re-retired to the California desert several years ago and leads bird walks at Whitewater Preserve and Coachella Valley Preserve. Mark has been fortunate to bird in most of the U.S. as well as a number of other countries. Nuthatches and woodpeckers are particular favorites.

For information, please contact our education department at or call 760.202.2234