Attraction Spotlight: Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve

Beautiful purple bulb lily

Enjoy the great outdoors at the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve. Located in Riverside County near the Temecula Valley Freeway, this public reserve protects various plant and wildlife species of the area.

The ecological reserve was established by The Nature Conservancy, an environmental organization that aims to protect the earth’s land and waters. When Riverside County experienced a population boom and an increase in housing developments in 1983, the Conservancy pushed to preserve a fraction of the diverse land. The organization then purchased around 3,100 acres of land that belonged to a housing development company and worked to preserve the plateau.

Now, the reserve has expanded to around 10,000 acres of the Santa Rosa Plateau. If you’re thinking about visiting this breathtaking ecological reserve, here’s what you should know:

A Quick Overview

The Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve contains a number of diverse species of both plants and wildlife. Open to the public, the reserve is visited by more than 60,000 people annually.

  1. Plant and wildlife species

    The Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve is home to rare plant and animal species that you can’t find anywhere else. When you visit, be on the lookout for Engelmann oaks. Also known as the mesa oak, these majestic trees have large winding branches and can only be found in Southern California.

    You can also find seasonal vernal pools here. These temporary pools provide a habitat for ecosystems that rely on the water and wetlands. Other plant and animal species found here are the Santa Rosa basalt brodiaea, fairy shrimp, and two-striped garter snakes.

  2. Hiking, walking, and biking trails

    The number of trails at the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve range from easy and medium to hard. These pathways lead to spectacular views of the plateau and the stunning California landscape. Some of the most popular trails are the Granite Loop Trail, the Los Santos Trail, the Vernal Pool Trail, and the Adobe Loop Trail.

  3. Picnic areas

    Visitors are also allowed to picnic amidst all the flora and fauna. You can unfurl a mat or a blanket beneath the shade of the massive oak trees or you can choose to picnic at the many available benches along the trails.

  4. Special events

    Every November, the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve hosts Family Wildlife Day. This event showcases the different birds, bugs, and reptiles that are native to the plateau. Aside from featuring different animals and insects, Family Wildlife Day also has a nature walk, a fossil presentation, storytelling sessions, and live music.


The Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve is open every day from sunrise to sunset. The entrance fee for visiting adults is $4 and $3 for children who are aged 12 years and below. If you want to pay through credit card, you may do so at the Visitor Center, which is open on Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Learn more here.

Looking for a home near the magnificent Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve? Find out what Temecula, Murrieta, and its surrounding areas have to offer. Explore your real estate options by calling The Hensley Group at 951.719.0355. Or send an email to marcel(at)thehensleygroup(dotted)net.