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What should I do if I come across a snake while hiking?

Snake encounters are bound to happen on hikes. Since snakes are cold-blooded, you will often find them trying to warm up their body temperature by sunning themselves along the trail. Rattlesnakes and other snake species are a common inhabitants of the Preserve and you should stay vigilant to their presence in rocky areas or tall grass along the sides of the trail. It is also important to note that they are not usually aggressive towards humans, but will bite you if they feel threatened with no other option.

If you happen to encounter a snake, do not try to pick it up or scare it away with rocks/sticks. All animals in the Preserve are protected and an intricate part of the delicate ecosystem. It is best for your safety and that of the animal to avoid them and back away slowly before you are noticed. Snakes will often perceive movement as a threat and they may strike at you if they are surprised.

If for some reason, you get bit by a snake it is important to stay calm. If the snake is venomous not panicking could save your life by slowing the rate the poison moves through your system. Although most snakes are actually not venomous, it is important to treat each bite as though the snake was poisonous to prevent serious complications.

  • Try to keep the site of injury below the heart.
  • If the wound bleeds, apply direct pressure to the wound and tie a bandage loosely around and above the wound.
    • Do not try to clean the wound as this could likely cause further infection.
    • If the bandaged area feels cold or numb, the bandage is too tight
  • Take the individual to the hospital as soon as possible.
    • Calling an ambulance in most cases is not necessary and will only waste time. The nearest hospital is located at:
      • San Antonio Community Hospital
        999 San Bernardino Rd.
        Upland, CA 92336

Dont's of snake bites!

  • Do not apply ice on the snake bite.
    • It may block the circulation of blood.
  • Do not try to suck the venom out of the wound.
    • This could cause unwanted infections and inflict exposure to the venom.
  • Do not attempt to cut the would open.
  • Do not assume a snake is non-venomous by it’s physical characteristics.
    • Seek medical attention regardless.
When is the Preserve open and when are there closures?

The North Etiwanda Preserve is a habitat conservation site which is open to the public from sunrise to sunset for hiking purposes only. Visitors need to respect the nighttime closure so that wildlife can recover and unwind from a day of human encounters. It is also dangerous to hike at night and any violators are subject to citation.

Periodic Closures can occur if conditions within the area pose a direct threat to conservation goals or visitors. Extreme weather can pose a danger, but usually doesn't result in a closure. There can however be an accumulation of weather related events and other incidents such as the threat of fire that can trigger a somewhat temporary posted closure. Red Flag Fire Warning Days pose a significant threat to both inhabitants of the Preserve and its visitors. As a precautionary measure to the protection and well being of wildlife.  Closures can be posted to both breeding areas of endangered inhabitants and the Preserve area as a whole if human visitation results is seen to have an adverse affect on animal species populations.

Conscientious and respectful visitors will help us avoid prolonged closures and maintain a balance between conservation goals and passive human interaction with the ecosystem. Needed closures will be posted at the Preserve parking lot and noted on the website. Continue to visit this site for the latest information related to a closure.

How difficult is the hike and what is the terrain like?

The preserve main trail consists of a 3.3 mile loop carried out over a mixed rocky terrain, which experiences direct sun exposure with little areas of refuge along the way.  There is a ~800 ft elevation gain from the parking lot to the water gauging station at the highest point on the trail.  The trail takes about 2 hours to complete walking at an average pace. 

We strongly advise hikers to wear proper footwear and attire to protect themselves from the rocky terrain and sun exposure.  The use of strollers or other wheel-based equipment is not advised, given the difficult terrain.

How do I get to the Etiwanda Falls from the trail?
The falls are found on National Forest property just outside of the current boundaries of the North Etiwanda Preserve, but can be reached by walking in a northerly direction up the main trail for about 1.5 miles from the trail head located at the parking lot.  By going to the falls, you will cross over privately owned property which is not currently a designated part of the Preserve.  The private property crossed is still a habitat preservation site for which the same conservation practices apply, although not fully affiliated with the Preserve at this time.
Is it ok to take home edible plants found on the Preserve?

All plants and animals found on the Preserve are protected.  Harvesting plants and/or harming animals is a violation of the rules of the Preserve, where a fine may be given for any committed offenses.

If you witness any persons committing this offense, please contact:

San Bernardino County Sheriff Dispatch

Are there restrooms or trashcans along the trail?

There is one restroom located on the main trail about 2 miles from the designated starting point, near the panoramic viewing area.

There are purposefully no trash cans located on the trail or in the parking lot of the Preserve. Trash, either deposited appropriately or otherwise poses a hazard to wildlife as animals will often get into it, where it can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences.  Respectful hikers of the Preserve won't discard their trash for others to remove, but instead carry out items for proper disposal or recycling at their home.  Discarded trash left on trails can tend to attract non-native animal species that can often alter the species makeup of the Preserve and cause unintentional harm to unsuspecting animals.

Please adhere to sound conservation practices by Packing Out Belongings as we will all be better off! 

Hedgehog PlasticBird Plastic
Please Pack Out any items brought to avoid accident harm to the environment.    

How do I report a problem or concern?

To report immediate crimes or suspicious behavior seen out on the preserve call:

San Bernadino County Sheriff


We-Tip Hotline

For any comments or concerns, contact us at:

San Bernardino County Special Districts Department
157 W. 5th Street, 2nd Floor
San Bernardino, CA 92415-0450

Why are dogs not allowed in the preserve?
Dogs pose a direct threat to wildlife and are often a disturbance to other visitors in the Preserve.
For a detailed explanation, click here.
How long is the trail and how long will it take me to finish?
The main trail is about 3.3 miles long, which takes the average person walking between 2-3 hours to complete in the mixed rocky terrain.
How can I get involved?

We appreciate all the help we can get to help preserve the native habitat and species of the area.  You can become a steward to the North Etiwanda Preserve by filling out our Volunteer Interest Form or contacting us at:  

San Bernardino County Special Districts Department
157 W. 5th Street, 2nd Floor
San Bernardino, CA 92415-0450

Also be on the look out for our cleanup events shown on our events calendar!

How do I plan a field trip for my class?

We offer an outdoor education program for grades K-12 during the week.  You can contact us at our office to plan a trip and customize your experience based on the needs of your class. Click here for more information.

Contact Us at:

San Bernardino County Special Districts Department
157 W. 5th Street, 2nd Floor
San Bernardino, CA 92415-0450