Vernal Pools (P.O.I.)

SA Report: The cradle seems to be rocking

Trip Date: 1/25/2015

Location: Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve

Permit/Pass: Day use: $3 each adult pedestrian, $2 each child between 2 and 12.

Trails: RivCoParks Map

Directions: From Interstate 15 in California between Wildomar and Murrieta take the Clinton Keith Rd. exit and head south on Clinton Keith Rd. 5.1 miles to where the roads turns right and becomes Tenaja Rd. Follow Tenaja west as it veers to the south. At the first stop sign Tenaja turns right. Continue straight on what is now Via Volcano as it climbs up to the Vernal Pools parking lot at 2.6 miles (from the beginning of Tenaja). Turn left into the lot and find the trailhead at the southeast corner of the lot.

Synopsis: The Santa Rosa Plateau vernal pools trail offers a great opportunity to see some extremely rare habitat. These ephemeral ponds host interesting plants and animals, some of which are endangered, so please remain on the path and boardwalk to help protect this fragile ecosystem.

Trail sequence: Vernal Pools trail

Type: Out and back

Distance: 1.5 miles


Elevation: Min. - 1958', Max. - 2082'

Rating: Easy (factors: seasonality, heat)

Trail Notes: These pools usually appear in the winter after the rains return to southern California.


Vernal Pools - Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve

Turn by Turn:

  -- Pick up the trail next to the sign-board and head directly east for nearly three-quarters of a mile, passing two smaller pools near the starting point of the hike.

  -- As you come over a slight rise the main pool comes into sight. When you reach the pool take the loop trail out onto the boardwalk, then return to the main trail and retrace your steps back to the parking lot.


Photo Gallery: Flickr