If you are looking for an adventure filled with extraordinary species, look no further than the Santa Rosa Plateau. The reserve is located within the Santa Margarita Watershed, at the end of the Santa Ana Mountains in Southwest Riverside County.
Not only does the reserve have a fascinating ecosystem, but it is filled with Riverside County history. This makes it the perfect outdoor activity and educational outing for the whole family to enjoy. The area consists of 9,000 acres and it protects six plant communities, as well as more than 200 animal & plant species. A rare species of fairy shrimp can only be found at the vernal pools on the reserve.
Here are the six plant communities protected by the ecological reserve:
- Oak Woodland
- Vernal Pools
- Coastal Sage Scrub
- Riparian Wetland
A popular destination for explorers interested in local history are the Moreno and Machado Adobes, which are two of the oldest standing structures in Riverside County. These historical buildings date back to 1846 and served as bunkhouses for cowboys. When visiting the adobes, you will want to make time for a picnic under the 400-year-old tree that provides the area with shade. Just make sure to pick up your trash when you’re done!
Although, the reserve is currently closed, you can still enjoy hiking, walking dogs, horseback riding and mountain biking in the area. Currently, the Sylvan Meadows Multi-Use Trails are open 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. There is a fee to enter the reserve that must be paid in cash, and there is also an annual pass available. For more information click here.