U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
For thousands of years, particles of sand from the San Bernardino Mountains and Indio Hills washed into the Coachella Valley, forming a system of dunes.
Today, these dunes are part of the Coachella Valley Preserve System, a 20,000-acre sanctuary that is home to several species of increasingly rare wildlife. The Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard depends on this unusual blowsand desert for survival, and "swims" through the sand to escape predators or summer heat on the desert surface.
Four other unique wildlife species can also be found here: the Coachella roundtailed ground squirrel, the giant red velvet mite, the flat-tailed horned lizard and the giant palm-boring beetle.
The Coachella Valley Preserve also contains several palm oases, formed because San Andreas Fault lines allow water flowing underground to rise to the surface. The spectacular Thousand Palms Oasis includes a mile-long trail that winds past pools containing endangered desert pupfish. Native vegetation includes creosote bush, burrobush, smoke tree and desert lavender, part of this area's unique habitat for wildlife.
Animals you may see here
Viewing tips for this area
How to get here
Take Interstate 10 to the Bob Hope exit (about 10 miles east of Palm Springs); go north and turn right on Varner road. At Ramon Road, turn left. Drive east to Thousand Palms Canyon Drive. Turn north and drive about two miles to the entrance.
Size: about 20,000 acres.
Managed by: The Bureau of Land Management, Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office, The Nature Conservancy, the California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the California Department of Parks and Recreation manage this area jointly.
For more information, contact: The Nature Conservancy, (760) 343-1234; or Bureau of Land Management, Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office. More photos and history at CoachellaValley.org.
Site 191 in the California Wildlife Viewing Guide.