Santa Rosa Wilderness
Guide

Introduction

Ready for your next outdoor adventure? Consider a trip to California's Santa Rosa Wilderness. It's a wonderful place to visit on an RV getaway.
Santa Rosa Wilderness is located near Palm Springs, California. A BLM managed property, this beloved natural recreational area was designated a national wilderness in 1984 and consists of 78,576 acres of ground. This pristine landmass spans through several counties, including Riverside and San Diego. Taking pride of place in the Colorado River Valley area of the Sonoran Desert, this wilderness region is simple to locate from its position above the Coachella and Lower Colorado River valleys. The vast majority of the premises can be found at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument.
The mountain range found at Santa Rosa Wilderness was the site of rich cultural heritage, and today is still home to many undeveloped trails, primitive mills, and shelters comprised of rocks. The grounds still bear evidence of past life, including former mining sites.
The Santa Rosa Mountains are a haven for many different types of wildlife, including bighorn sheep. Coyotes, mule deer, and bobcats. Unusual plant species also make their home on the premises, including such rare varieties as Santa Rosa sage and Nuttall's scrub.
Santa Rosa Wilderness is renowned for many different recreational opportunities. The land supports a wide variety of trails, both developed and undeveloped. Among the most popular hiking trails are the Boo Hoff equestrian trail, the Cactus Spring Trail, the Bear Creek Oasis Trail, and the Lost Canyon Oasis Trail.
A portion of the property is reserved as a national state wildlife refuge. In the other areas, hunting is permitted in season and with a license. The most popular game in the region are deer, dove, and quail.
Dispersed camping is found throughout the grounds with several area campgrounds offering sites for both RV and tent camping.
For an amazing vacation in the heart of the California desert, plan a trip to Santa Rosa Wilderness. It's a fantastic locale for a relaxing RV getaway.

RV Rentals in Santa Rosa Wilderness

Transportation

Driving

Travel to Santa Rosa Wilderness is quite simple, proceeding along two-lane interstate highways that are kept in good condition. Highway 74 is the easiest route to reach the wilderness when traveling from the north. Highway 86 provides eastbound access and leads to several accompanying streets that provide the closest proximity to the grounds.

Each of the highways traverses through sections of a rich desert that is both humid and arid in different places. Travelers are advised to keep lots of drinking water on hand for their journey.

Parking can be found at several locations just off the highway. Though there are no formally designated lots, motorists can safely leave their vehicles 30 feet off the main road and travel the remaining distance to the wilderness on foot.

Parking

Visitors to the area are advised to park their vehicles within 30 feet of the main highways, then proceed the remainder of the way to the wilderness on foot. Vehicles equipped with four-wheel-drive may attempt the journey to the wilderness grounds but should avoid travel during extremely wet conditions when the sand is dense and wet.

Public Transportation

There is no public transportation available to Santa Rosa Wilderness due to its remote location.

Campgrounds and parking in Santa Rosa Wilderness

Campsites in Santa Rosa Wilderness

Reservations camping

Indian Flat Campground

Indian Flat Campground offers RV and tent camping year-round by reservation only. The property is found near to Yosemite National Park, making it an ideal locale for those wishing to spend time at this popular public recreational area.

Indian Flat Campground houses 25 sites which are suited to RV camping. Each of these sites is complete with water and power hookups, and some also have sewer hookups. In addition to the 25 RV campsites, there are 25 spots reserved specifically for tenting.

Also found on the grounds are two cabins for rent which feature small kitchens, private bathrooms, and cable TV.

There is one tent cabin available on-site with its own bed, lighting, and an overhead fan for comfort.

Borrego Palm Canyon Campground

Borrego Palm Canyon Campground offers year-round RV and tent camping, with reservations available from October through April. During the summer, the sites are on a first-come, first-served basis.

The on-site amenities include drinking water and bathrooms. There are showers on the grounds that take tokens. The tokens can be purchased directly at the entrance to this camping facility. There are a few RV sites that offer full hookups.

Dogs are allowed on the grounds if kept on a leash no greater than six feet in length at all times. All dogs must be kept quiet and must not display aggression. During sleeping hours, dogs must remain in their owner's tent or RV or within their vehicle. It is important to note that dogs may not go on any trails and are restricted to their campsite and paved walkways.

A quiet time is observed between 10 PM and 6 AM daily.

Hood Mountain Regional Park Camping

Hood Mountain Regional Park Camping offers several campsites in secluded areas within this public recreational area. Each of the sites can only be reached by hiking a distance of two miles from the on-site parking lot. Each of the campsites offers picnic tables, locked spaces for food, and vault toilets. There is no RV camping available on the grounds.

Potable water is not provided, so travelers must bring bottled water with them to address their needs. Cooking stoves are allowed on the premises, but campfires and barbecues are strictly forbidden.

There is a maximum stay of four nights.

Dogs may join their owners on the premises but must be leashed. Horses are also welcomed.

Reservations are required.

Seasonal activities in Santa Rosa Wilderness

In-Season

Aerial Tramway

When visiting Santa Rosa Wilderness, it is worth the effort to stop by the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The tram travels the distance to the pinnacle of the San Jacinto mountain. Here, families can enjoy incredible views of the surrounding area that spans 360 degrees.

Since the tip of the mountain is particularly chilly, families will want to be sure to bring warm clothing to ward off the cold. In the winter months, snow can often be seen. There are a restaurant and cafe found at the mountain peak as well.

From the top of the mountain, families can enjoy the view, feast on some snacks or a delicious meal, or venture on a further hike.

The journey up the mountain takes approximately ten minutes and proceeds in a rotating tram car, the biggest of its kind in the world. Tickets must be purchased for tram travel. For more information about obtaining tickets and scheduled tram times, consult the tramway's website.

Palm Springs Visitors Center

For families looking to enjoy some adventure while on a trip to Santa Rosa Wilderness, a stop by the Palm Springs Visitors Center can help them to plan. The building itself is renowned for its interesting design which is reminiscent of the space age.

The building was first constructed in 1965 and was in use as a popular fuel station at the time. In the 1990s, the gas station had fallen into disrepair, and demolition was being considered. Local enthusiasts of the building's unique architecture rallied to repurpose the building. Today, it welcomes visitors to the region and provides a wide variety of maps, educational materials, and promotional pamphlets to help people discover the best sights in the region.

Palm Springs Air Museum

The Palm Springs Air Museum pays homage to aerial artifacts from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Within the museum's grounds are over 40 planes housed in three different buildings. Among the warplanes displayed at this popular facility include the B-17 flying fortress, the F-4 fighter jet, the C-47, and the PBY Catalina Flying Boat.

For true aficionados of the history of planes, Palm Springs Air Museum offers flights on such aircraft as the C-47 Skytrain and the P-51 Mustang. The flights are quite pricey and are available only occasionally. Check the museum's website for flight schedules and prices.

The museum was founded in 1996 and is staffed by many veterans who can offer a bird's eye view of what it was like to serve in military aviation during times of war.

Off-Season

Tahquitz Canyon

Tahquitz Canyon is located in the heart of the California desert. The property features a popular loop hiking trail of two miles in length which leads to an impressive waterfall that reaches 50 feet in height. The waterfall is found on a property owned by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. A fee is required to access this portion of the trail. Guided tours are also available by reservation and for a fee.

Other interesting features found in the region include rock art, wildlife, vegetation, and interesting artifacts from past irrigation systems. At the mouth of the property is a visitor center that provides educational opportunities to glean more information about the grounds and the people that once dwelled there.

An on-site theatre room provides daily screenings of a film entitled The Legend of Tahquitz Canyon.

Moorten Botanical Garden

Moorten Botanical Garden has been a local fixture since its inception in 1938. This private property is a haven for many different types of cacti and desert-dwelling plants which number over 3,000 in total.

Named for the family that tends the premises, the Moortens specialize in the cultivation of desert vegetation. Their museum contains not only plants but also crystals, unique and brilliantly hued rocks, fossils, and artifacts from the gold mining days of old.

The property bears the distinction of being the first Cactarium in the world. An on-site nursery allows families to purchase some plants to take home with them as a memento of their visit to Moorten Botanical Garden.

Moorten Botanical Garden is located in the heart of the Palm Grove Oasis.

Cabazon Dinosaurs

A unique spot that is definitely worth discovering, no trip to Santa Rosa Wilderness is complete without stopping by for a photo op with the Cabazon Dinosaurs. The Cabazon Dinosaurs are two statues of 100 tons in weight. One is of a Brontosaurus and the other a T-Rex. The sculptures once sat along
a popular highway route connecting Palm Springs to a nearby diner.

These dinosaur statues have since been moved and now mark the entrance to a beloved museum dedicated to creationism. The museum has become a popular stopping point for families to take their photo with the giant creatures.

Directly under the Brontosaurus' stomach is a gift shop where local souvenirs can be obtained. If time permits, take an hour or two to explore the on-site museum as well.