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Southern California - Two Great Hikes and the Wind Turbines

Updated: Apr 14, 2022

Hike #1 - Ladder and Painted Canyons - Mecca, California

Ladder Canyon Trail is a 4.5 mile moderate hike in the Mecca Hills Wilderness Area of southern California. The trail is a loop that passes through a slot canyon, climbs up to a ridge, then returns along the bottom of Big Painted Canyon. Elevation gain is 967 feet and ladders are provided where needed in some areas of the hike. The hike takes 2-3 hours.

Views of the Salton Sea

The Painted Canyon

Hike #2

The Whitewater Preserve is a nature preserve with 2,851 acres of land in Riverside County. The preserve is located within the San Bernardino Mountains and is part of the Sand to Snow National Monument. The Whitewater River is supposed to be flowing through a desert canyon. The river was dried up when we visited on March 11th. There were several snow storms in the mountains during our stay in Catalina Spa RV. Hopefully the spring melt will result in the return of the river (at least as a stream).

We hiked the Canyon Loop trail which was pleasant, at one point I felt like Maria in the Sound of Music. Then the wind turbines came into view.

Views of the wind turbines in the distance


Twenty minutes west of Palm Springs, in the gap between Southern California's two highest mountains, thousands of turbines fill the landscape on either side of Interstate 10, taking advantage of a natural wind tunnel.

Some wind machines are hundreds of feet tall, with wingspans as long as a football field. Older models are tiny by comparison, with clunky lattice towers and spinning rotors that may be only 90 feet long.

At one point there were upwards of 5,000 machines spinning in the wind, but now, because of the efficiency of models, only about 2,100 remain. It’s anticipated that in the future as technology improves and even more efficient machines are erected, only about 1,000 will be needed to produce the same amount of power as is currently generated.

View of the Wind Turbines from Catalina Spa RV Resort

Stock Photo of the Turbines

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