Description - The San Jacinto and Santa Rosa area is best known for its contrast of landscapes. The subalpine forest of pine and fir are not far from the barrel cactus and palm trees of the desert. Sightseers have many views of flatlands and rolling hills as well as rock-ribbed peaks which soar above the tiny village of Idyllwild.
While the San Bernardino Mountains go east-west, this mountain range goes north-south. The San Jacintos are the backdrop to Palm Springs and other desert communities on the north and east, Hemet on the west and Anza Valley to the south.
A mixture of private, county, state, and federal facilities provide services for visitors throughout the year.
- As with all of San Bernardino National Forest, recreation abounds on the San Jacinto Ranger District. San Jacinto offers eight family campgrounds with features that include handicapped accessible sites, hot showers, drinking water, and nearby fishing opportunities. The District also features two group campgrounds accommodating groups up to 100 people.
There are three developed picnic areas on the District: Fuller Mill Creek, Lake Fulmor and Lake Hemet. All three have fishing opportunities and Fulmor and Hemet offer drinking water and handicapped sites. Generally, the picnic areas are equipped with tables, stoves or barbecues, and vault toilets.
An enjoyable way to view the District is to follow the designated National Scenic Byway from Palm Desert to Banning Pass. The 67-mile route travels from desert oasis to snow-peaked mountains. Many roadside pull-offs with interpretive panels tell the story of the early inhabitants of the mountain, wildlife, and the effect of fire on the mountain landscape.
Many levels of trails exist on the District. The 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail winding through the San Jacinto Wilderness, into the Mt. San Jacinto State Park, and back into the San Jacinto Wilderness before leaving the District near Lookout Mountain. For great views of Suicide Rock and Idyllwild, take the Devil's Slide Trail from Humber Park. This trail, named after the slide at the base of Tahquitz Rock, takes you on easy switchbacks through fine stands of black oak, Jeffrey pine, white pine, and incense cedar. The higher you go, the better the views!
Hunting is permitted at certain times of the year; waterfowl can be hunted on Lake Hemet. All hunting is regulated by the California Department of Fish and Game.
The Forest Service Ranger Station, in downtown Idyllwild at Pinecrest Avenue and Highway 243 sells, books and maps and also issues Wilderness permits. The Santa Rosa Visitor Center is on Highway 74 just south of Palm Desert. This Bureau of Land Management facility has exhibits about desert wildlife and history and a short nature trail.
Recreation - The San Jacinto Ranger District is a destination where you can camp, group camp, hunt, hike, horseback ride, fish, view stunning scenery and much more.
Forest visitors on the San Bernardino, Cleveland, Angeles and Los Padres National Forests of Southern California are required to purchase an Adventure Pass and display it on their vehicle when parked in the Forest. The cost is $5 per day or $30 per year and can be purchased in any Forest Service office or over 350 businesses throughout Southern California.
Climate - Climate on the San Bernardino varies greatly with elevation. Temperatures can be 70 degrees F in Los Angeles while only 40 degrees F at Big Bear Lake. It can snow almost any month of the year in the highest elevations. Heavy snow is possible in the high elevations during the winter months. Most of the precipitation comes between November and April so summers tend to be dry. Summer temperatures are normally warm to hot at the low elevations and more moderate at the higher elevations. Nighttime temperatures can be cool in the mountains, even during the summer months. Weather can change quickly, especially in the high elevations. Check weather forecasts and avoid storms.
San Jacinto Ranger District is located southeast of San Bernardino between Interstate 10 on the north to areas south near the intersection of Highways 74 and 371. The east-west points range from Valle Vista and areas just east of Santa Rosa Mountain including the Santa Rose Wilderness.