Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve

Murrieta, California 92562

Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve

Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"A 200-mile-wide circle centered on the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve in the southwest corner of Riverside County encompasses a megalopolis of some 20 million people. File this fact away in your mind"

Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve Trip Reports

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7/13/2018
Santa Rosa is an awesome set of well-maintained trails. Note that the southern facing trails are hiking only, no dogs or horses. Grab a map because there is an intricate web of trails that you can link together for whatever kind of adventure you want, regardless of length or skill level. Be sure to see the Vernal Pools!
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11/30/2011
Started kind of late (10 am) but I made it to the top of El Cajon by 1 at a fairly slow pace. Really great views. Try to find the US Geological maker on top of El Cajon!
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11/6/2006
This trail was just as advertised--lots of ups and downs. From about 3.5 to 4 miles, the trail is narrow and almost washed out, but the rest of the trail is in good shape. The four-mile markers have not been replaced since th fire. The biggest problem is the surface of the trail. At the bottom it is covered in very fine gravel. Most of the way it has loose DG. This combinations tends to take it out on your legs as you slip around. The last 1/2 mile from the saddle to the top of El Cajon Mountain there is no real trail, but people have put cairns every 50 yards or so. Round trip to the top took us about 6.5 hours. You lose a lot of time finding your way to the top. The view from the top is marvelous!
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5/21/2006
Great hike, particularly in the Spring with all the wild flowers. The first 3 miles of the trail are very nice. At the 3 mile marker there is a branch. Go straight. The branch going to the left is really washed out after the first few hundred yards. Great view from the top.
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1/29/2003
Discovered a great side trail from the col before the summit. When you get to the col, there's a brown sign with three directions: El Cajon summit to the left (east); the old radio shed to the right (west) and the Face of El Capitan straight ahead (south). Part of the trail's washed away, but quite manageable, and it's about a three mile even trip there and back to the col where you started. But the views from the very edges of the cliff face of El Capitan are out of this world. Almost like the Grand Canyon of San Diego. Well worth the extra effort!
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Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve Photos

Trail Information

Murrieta
Nearby City
Kid-friendly
Accessibility
6
Distance
650 feet
Elevation Gain
Loop/Lollipop
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
3 hours
Duration
November–June
Season
Near Temecula and Murrieta
Local Contacts
USGS 7.5-minute Wildomar
Local Maps

Trail Log