Santa Rosa and
San Jacinto Mountains
2001: National Monument
Rating (1-5): Unrated
About the Site"The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains in southern California contain nationally significant biological, cultural, recreational, geological, educational and scientific values. The magnificent vistas, wildlife, land forms, and natural and cultural resources of these mountains occupy a unique and challenging position given their proximity to highly urbanized areas of the Coachella Valley." So says the proclamation issued in 2001. The National Monument encompasses more than 272,000 acres in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains.
What You're Going to SeeThe Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center, which is located off State Highway 74 south of Palm Desert, was dedicated in 1996 and is open to the public seven days a week. The city of Palm Desert donated six acres in the 1990's for the current visitor center. The Friends of the Desert Mountains provides volunteers to help staff the center, which is a tourism gateway to the Monument and the Coachella Valley
Personal ObservationsThis is another new National Monument supervised by the Bureau of Land Management, and not the National Park Service. As such, the Monument goals are somewhat different. The BLM seems not to put visitors centers on Monument property, and also doesn't plan on developing the land for greater visitor access. I haven't been to this one yet, so I can't give first-hand information. I've not been able to find out how many visitors it's had, nor whether a stamp is available. When I do find out, you'll be the first to know. Well, after I tell my wife. And kids. So actually you're fairly well down the list.
Getting ThereTake I-5 to Indio or Palm Springs, then follow Highway 111 to Palm Desert. Then go south on Highway 74 to the visitors center.
Nearby AttractionsJoshua Tree National Park is just a few miles to the east, across I-5. Beyond that, north of I-40, is Mohave National Preserve. Cabrillo National Monument is two hours to the south, in San Diego.