Village News - Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

By Tony Ault

Find hiking adventures in Southwest Riverside County


Last updated 4/15/2021 at 11:16am


Village News/Shane Gibson photo

Wildflowers can be seen along a trail in the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve.

Southwest Riverside County area and its nearby San Bernardino National Forest San Jacinto Wilderness offer dozens of hiking trails for the whole family to enjoy at any time of the year.

There are scenic trails, mountain trails, informative nature trails and so many others for everyone from the toddler (with help), senior citizens and even the handicapped to relax and enjoy. There are trails for the hardiest hiker to the first-timer. They are listed as "Easy," "Moderate," or "Hard." Almost all are well-maintained by trained city, county, state or federal workers and hundreds of dedicated volunteers.

There is nothing like a hike to lower your stress levels, improve your mood and enhance your mental wellbeing and so many other health benefits.

Websites like All Trails (, HikeSpeak (, Riverside County Parks ( and state parks and national forest websites ( and have listings of hiking trails, their locations. hours, rules and levels of difficulty.

Some hiking trails may be closed due to fire dangers, repairs, adverse weather conditions or other factors, but there are always some open year around.

Hikers are always advised to learn about the trail or trails they are planning to take and what they should take with them. There are 10 essentials all hikers are advised to have with them on any lengthy adventure. They include:

First, is enough water, followed by the weather appropriate clothing from head to foot. Food is always advised for as many days they are on the trail. An accurate map is always a necessity and a handy compass. A first aid kit and any of your medications are necessities. A flashlight, emergency whistle, mirror, knife, bug spray, suntan lotion, matches, a small trowel, plastic bags and a cellphone but, remember, cell reception may not always be available on the trail.

There are many sporting goods stores in southwest Riverside County with knowledgeable associates that can help the hiker find just the right equipment for their outdoor adventure.

Always let someone know what trail you are going to take and when you may be returning. Many state parks and national forests require hikers to fill out a free hiking permit to take to their trails to know how many are on trails in the event there is an emergency, like fires or flash floods.

Overnight camping in the mountains may be limited to designated camping areas and hikers are asked to stay on the maintained trails as much as possible.

Temecula and Murrieta valleys' popular trails include; the Santa Margarita River Trail, Dripping Springs Campground Trail (Agua Tibia Wilderness) Santa Rosa Plateau Trail, Wild Horse Trail (Agua Tibia), Agua Tibia Full Loop Trail, Vail Lake Loop, Eagle Craig via Agua Tibia Loop, Harveston Lake Loop, Temecula to Vail Lake Overlook and Oak Mountain, DeLuz Overlook, Coyote and Transpreserve Trail Loop, Double Money Loop, Lake Skinner Trail, Monument Hill Loop via Punta Mesa and Vernal Pool Trails (Santa Rosa Plateau).

Lake Elsinore and Cleveland National Forest trails include; Chiquito Trail, McVicker Stairs Hiking Trail, Indian Truck Trail, Bear Canyon Trail, Sitton Peak, Walker Canyon Trail, El Cariso Truck Trail and many Cleveland National Forest trails

Views from a trail

Village News/Shane Gibson photo

Views from a trail in the French Valley Wildlife Viewing Area of Wine Country can include snow-capped mountains.

The San Bernardino National Forest's San Jacinto Wilderness trails located off of Highways 74 and 243 offer trails from Lake Fulmor (easy), Marion Mountain to San Jacinto (hard), Suicide Rock Trail (moderate), Black Mountain (hard), San Jacinto Loop Trail (hard), Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail (easy with no permit), South Ridge Trail to Tahquitz Peak (hard with fire tower visit), Idyllwild Park Trail (easy), San Jacinto Peak via Deer Springs Trial (moderate); Devils Slide Trail to Saddle Junction (moderate), Tahquitz Peak via Devils Slide Trail (moderate with fire tower visit),Fuller Ridge Trail to San Jacinto Peak (hard) and San Jacinto Peak Middle Route Trail (hard).

Not all trails in the wilderness are open during extreme fire danger times, check-in with the San Jacinto Ranger Station in Idyllwild.

Remember, when preparing for a hike, to include letting others know your planned path and expected return time can lead to a fun and relaxing time on the trail.

WildflowersHiking Trailtrail markerHiking trailstrailhead for the Devil’s Slide Trailnetwork of trailsWildflowersViews from a trail


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