Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve

Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve

Nature & Wildlife Areas
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5:30 AM - 8:00 PM
Monday
5:30 AM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday
5:30 AM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday
5:30 AM - 8:00 PM
Thursday
5:30 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday
5:30 AM - 8:00 PM
Saturday
5:30 AM - 8:00 PM
Sunday
5:30 AM - 8:00 PM
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Top ways to experience nearby attractions

Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

4.5
206 reviews
Excellent
149
Very good
49
Average
8
Poor
0
Terrible
0

mzglorybeCA
Murrieta, CA677 contributions
Feb 2020 • Couples
After a few days of rain everything turns green up here. So nice to see and walk through. We are only a few miles away and had never taken the hike. Our neighbors recommended it and we were glad we decided to see for ourselves. Depending on which trail you take, there is a variety. Some historical buildings are worth seeing. Some trails have resting spots. Before you go check out their website for what attracts you.
Written April 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

David D
Murrieta, CA98 contributions
Jun 2019 • Family
I have been to the plateau a few times and I really enjoy it. There are a ton of trails that are easy walks and a few that have some obstacles but even the least experienced joker can enjoy it. The views are spectacular. The cost to use most of the trails is $4 per person and before you ask why remember that the trails are well taken care of and safe. I am planning to return after summer and I will look for the trails that allow dogs since most do not.
Written August 11, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Falls Girl
Kissimmee, FL282 contributions
Sep 2018 • Family
The Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve offers an easy way to introduce your little ones to the great outdoors, as well as providing enjoyment for nature lovers of all fitness levels.

Within a short driving distance of many Inland Empire locations, this comprehensive and well-maintained system of trails has something for everyone. Please note that only certain trails are dog friendly. The main trail behind the visitor’s center is NOT. Separate biking and horseback riding trails are available-these do not intersect the main hiking trails.

Restrooms are available at the visitor’s center, and port-a-potties at the trail head near the seasonal vernal pools. There are no facilities at the historic adobes. The visitor’s center has a small local history museum plus interesting and child-friendly interactive nature exhibits featuring area wildlife. You can pay the daily use fees here, and be sure to get a map before starting out. The park rangers are full of current information, and will happily update you on relevant mountain lion or rattlesnake sightings. A picnic area with tables is a short walk from the visitor’s center.

Behind the visitor’s center is a deck, from which you can choose to follow the trail in several different directions. Colorful and informative signs line the first part of the path, along with a life-sized die-cut mountain lion sign complete with instructions in case you encounter a real one. Much of the trail system is flat and open enough for kids, but if you’re new to hiking, remember to never let small children run ahead of the adults on the trail, especially in areas that have posted wildlife warnings (like here). Your kids will be more comfortable (and last longer) on the trail with appropriate footwear - no sandals or flip-flops. Wildlife sightings including deer and coyotes are more likely in the early morning on days when the trail is not crowded, particularly if your group remains somewhat quiet.

The trails have a variety of grades ranging from easy to moderate; the most strenuous incline goes up Monument Hill. At the top, you’ll find benches and a pretty view of the surrounding mountains, and an expansive view of the trails below. There are alternate ways to reach the historic adobes, with varying degrees of difficulty and different scenery in either direction.

If you start from the vernal pool trail head, you will be in direct sunlight for much of the hike. For a few short days each year, the seasonal vernal pools fill up after several days of very heavy rain. The best chances for this are usually from December through February. The rest of the year, they remain dry, surrounded by slightly elevated boardwalks.

One of the best features of the Santa Rosa Plateau’s vast interconnected trail system is that your day can be as long or short as you choose, with plenty of opportunities while out on the trail to either push forward for a more strenuous hike, or turn around and head back when you feel like it. Remember to carry enough water – it can get brutally hot here on warm days.

These popular trails can get uncomfortably busy, especially early in the afternoon on weekends. Unfortunately, not everyone you’ll be sharing them with respects nature or enjoys solitude. The earlier you arrive, the more likely you are to avoid the crowds.
Written November 2, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

eoftcl
Diamond Bar, CA30 contributions
Nov 2020
Only 3 because at this time it 'only has limited access, and no trail map that you can carry and see where you are going or want to take when it branched out. I had a limited of time, but without a trail map, I can't figure out real time, which trail (other than sticking to main trail) to take. I studied the map before I go, but didn't make a print, thinking I will get one on location. So, the message is print a map and take it with you. Of-course if you are smart phone savvy that will help you too. I only did the 3 miles main trail which everybody else is taking too, so a little bit more people than I expected. It's a multi purpose trail, so you will encountered pets, mountain bikers, didn't see any horse rider when I was there, but horse poo all over the trails. I already pick a trail for my next hike, hopefully it's open. So don't let my 3 starts discourage you, give it a try. Plan ahead, which trail, where to park, how long the hike, etc. Maybe arrive earlier, I arrived at 8 AM and as I said, too many people for my liking. Don't forget to bring $4 cash, you need to slip this cash into a red post slot at the head of the trails.
Written November 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Nathan P
1 contribution
Oct 2019 • Couples
A big fire has destroyed this place. It will be closed for a while. Definitely call or otherwise investigate before planning a trip.
Written October 26, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

jamesbfishin1
Murrieta, CA20 contributions
Aug 2018 • Family
Whenever I can get my family up early I try to get them out to the Plateau for a nature walk. Lots of wildlife and just a nice hike. No difficult terrain just beautiful scenery that you have a hard time finding in Southern California. There are always a lot of people there but you could walk for hours and not run into anyone because the plateau is so vast. Come and check it out but please keep it beautiful.
Written October 4, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

rfpanhorst
Murrieta, CA32 contributions
Apr 2018 • Couples
This has quickly become one of our favorite hiking locations. There are multiple terrains, and from the top on a clear day you can see the ocean. Get there early though, and have cash to pay for your entrance since it is on the honor system.
Written August 27, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

andyherrity
Riverside, CA338 contributions
Apr 2017 • Couples
The Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve continues to impress me, year after year. Last weekend, my wife and I did a six mile hike there with some friends. At the vernal pools, we saw lots of frogs, and beautiful ducks. On the path from the pools down to the Adobe, there were amazing blankets of freshly blooming poppies.
Written April 25, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Pat K
Lake Elsinore, CA56 contributions
Feb 2015 • Friends
Located just off of Interstate 15 near Murrietta, California (southern California), the Santa Rosa Ecological Preserve is a wonderful place to get away from the noise and hustle of the day. It is a favorite place to hike, birdwatch, and practice your nature photography. Choose between long, medium, or short trails as you feel the need. Maps, information, and guides can be found at the visitor's center. The Park's staff host photography classes with resident/local professional photographers teaching as the small group hikes the trails. Great place for kids as well.... Rangers are especially welcoming and helpful so take some time and enjoy the Preserve.
For the GPS crowd, use 39400 Clinton Keith Rd, Murrieta, CA 92562 or call the station for the latest news at (951) 677-6951. There is an annual parking pass that you can purchase or a small fee for day-pass entry [$3.00 for adult, $2.00 for child 2-12 yrs old, and yes, you can bring a dog on a 6 ft leash for $1.00]. To ensure that you have the lastest information, maps, etc. visit the Preserve's web site at:
http://www.rivcoparks.org/education/santa-rosa-plateau/plateau-visitor-information/ . Now get out there and have some fun with nature!
Written March 2, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Martha B
139 contributions
This is my favorite go to for a hike. it's a short drive to a whole different tranquil world. I highly suggest going her if you need to unwind, relax and appreciate nature. All of the trails are great, over the years I have hiked them all! You can go here year round and see something different all the time. there's lots to see, adobes, ancient oak trees, wildlife, vernal pools and a good variety of birds. Take a camera and binoculars. There's also a section for mountain bikes and dogs. Don't miss out and go ASAP!
Written December 26, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve (Murrieta) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve

Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve is open:
  • Sun - Sat 5:30 AM - 8:00 PM