General Information about the Santa Rosa Plateau

Introduction and Maps
How to Get to The Santa Rosa Plateau
Visitor Center

Introduction and Maps

The Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve is a special place in Southern California:

Day use fees are $2 for adults and $1 for children between the ages of 2 and 12. See the official Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve website for rules and regulations, as well as a wealth of other information about the reserve.

Docent-led tours can be arranged Tuesday through Saturday for groups of 12 or more for a total cost of $3 per person. Call (909) 677-6951x4 to obtain a form to request a tour.


How to Get to The Santa Rosa Plateau

General Directions to the I-15 exit:

Directions from the I-15 exit: Take the Clinton Keith exit from I-15 in the Wildomar area between Lake Elsinore and Murrieta. Go southwest on Clinton Keith

Directions for most Fallbrook residents, and optional for people coming from coastal San Diego County / southern Orange County: Here is a much more striking way to get to the Plateau, and a quicker way to get to the Vernal Pool Trailhead from Fallbrook. Since the Santa Rosa Plateau forms the northern skyline from Fallbrook, this route provides a much better context of how close the Plateau is to Fallbrook.

Take Sandia Creek Drive north from downtown Fallbrook past the Santa Margarita River and up Sandia Creek Canyon. Sandia Creek Drive leaves Sandia Creek Canyon at Rock Mountain. It then descends past Rock Mountain, giving a stunning view of nearly the entire Santa Rosa Plateau, and bottoms near a house with a great pool on your left. At about 0.8 miles after the house, turn left on De Anza Road, which is just after the large single egg-shaped rock on your right. De Anza Road is marked by a yellow "road intersection" sign, and is 4.1 miles north of the Santa Margarita River crossing. Cross Sandia Creek and turn right on Cameron Road where De Anza ends, 0.7 miles from Sandia Creek Drive. After about a half mile, look at Sandia Canyon on your right and try to figure out how you got so high so quickly!

Cross De Luz Road and continue until Cameron Road ends at Carancho Road, 1.4 miles from De Anza Road, where you turn left. Proceed 1.5 miles to Los Gatos Road on your right, and ascend a 27% grade at the end to reach the Plateau. Los Gatos turns left and becomes Avocado Mesa Road, which turns right and becomes Via Volcano (which eventually becomes Clinton Keith). The Vernal Pool Trailhead quickly appears on your right, just after the second of the two smaller pools (only present and visible in late winter).

Visitor Center Information

The Visitor Center is at:

39400 Clinton Keith Road
Murrieta, CA 92562
(951) 677-6951.

The staff, and their extension numbers for voicemail, are:

Assistant Resource Manager Zach Principe left in late 2004, and has not yet been replaced.

The new Visitors Center (formerly called the Operations Center) is open most Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In peak flower season, it is usually open on Thursdays and Fridays as well, if volunteers can be found to staff it.

The Visitor's Center contains several interesting items, in addition to helpful volunteers or staff that can answer a lot of your questions:

Go to:

Copyright © 1996-2006 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 27 February 2006.