The Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve is located at the southern end of the Santa Ana Mountains in southwest Riverside County, near the city of Murrieta.
The Reserve consists of 9000 acres. The land has been set aside to protect unique ecosystems like Engelmann oak woodlands, riparian wetlands, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, bunchgrass prairie, vernal pools and more than 200 species of native birds and 49 endangered, threatened or rare animal and plant species, including mule deer, mountain lions, badgers, bobcats, western pond turtles, white-tailed kites and fairy shrimp. Two species of fairy shrimp live in the seasonal vernal pools on the Reserve, but only one is found here and nowhere else on Earth.
Visitors to the Reserve can walk to the two oldest standing structures in Riverside County that once served as bunkhouses for cowboys dating back to 1846. The Moreno and Machado Adobes are shaded by a 400-year-old tree and separated by a relaxing, one-of-a-kind, picnic area. These structures are popular hiking destinations for visitors.
Other recreational activities include hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and attending interpretive programs. (Horseback riding and mountain biking are restricted to the Sylvan Meadows Multi-Use Area of the Plateau.)
Visitors may pick up a Reserve brochure at the Riverside County Park District Headquarters, or can drop by the Reserve and check it out.
- Seasonal Vernal Pools
- Walking Trails
- Hiking Trails
- Biking Trails
- Equestrian Trails
- Picnic Areas
- Historic Adobe Buildings
- Interpretive Programs
- Outreach programs to 3rd grade classes
- Interpretive Trail Walks
- Guest Speakers
- Family Wildlife Day
- $3 each adult pedestrian
- $2 each child between 2 and 12
Additional fees may apply when in groups or special events.
Programs at the Santa Rosa Plateau are enhanced through funding raised by the Santa Rosa Plateau Foundation.
For more information about the Santa Rosa Plateau Foundation visit: Santa Rosa Plateau Foundation