5 Inland Empire Hiking Spots
After a string of several storms filled the pools up, Santa Rosa Plateau’s vernal pools near Murrieta aren't hardly the only Inland hiking destination transformed by seasonal rains.
UC Riverside Botanic Gardens
What: Sprawling green hillsides, themed gardens and variety of healthy plant life greet those making their way through the gardens, home to thousands of plants from around the world.
Changes: A wide variety of plant life throughout the garden -- especially native plants -- have perked up as a result of all the rain. Occasional breaks of sunshine have given rainwater the chance to really soak in and really help the plants, she said.
Where: The gardens are located at 1 Botanic Gardens Drive in Riverside and are open from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m., seven days a week. A $5 contribution per visitor is suggested. Parking is $1 for 2 hours.
What: The Big Falls are less than a mile hike from the trail head. There is a viewing area, but visitors are not allowed past that blocked off area.
Changes: The falls flows all year, but they’re especially a sight to see after a heavy rainfall, said Gerrelaine Alcordo, a San Bernardino National Forest spokeswoman. It is also recommended dressing in layers in case it’s cold and for visitors to keep tire chains in their trunks.
Where: The trailhead to the cascade can be reached by turning east off Highway 38 to Valley of the Falls Road in Forest Falls. The trail begins just past the first parking lot to the left. The parking within the park will need a $5 Adventure Pass.
What: Just past the Santa Rosa Plateau, in the Cleveland National Forest
Changes: The falls are the biggest in the Cleveland National Forest's San Mateo wilderness area, said Debra Clarke, a wilderness and trails manager and district volunteer. During the hike, people will likely be able to enjoy a wide-variety of wildflowers such as Indian paintbrush and lilac that have sprung to life because of the recent rains.
Where: Visitors can follow Clinton Keith Road west from the 15 Freeway, then turn onto Tenaja Road. The waterfall is only about .7 miles from the start of the trailhead.
San Jacinto Wildlife Area
What: Nestled between Perris and San Jacinto, the San Jacinto Wildlife Area is a 19,000-acre park with 9,000 acres of restored wetlands.
Changes: In the coming weeks there will be a wide variety of flowers in the Wildlife Area, from poppies to lupines.
Where: Take the 215 Freeway to Ramona Expressway, head east to Davis Road. The check in station is on Davis Road about 2.75 miles north of Ramona Expressway.
Heart Rock Falls
What: The hike to the cascade is short - about a mile round trip.
Changes: The San Bernardino National Forest says the gentle grade of the trail makes it a great hike for all ages, but recommends that parents with young children keep an eye on them, especially near the waterfall.
Where: A trail leading to the waterfall begins about a quarter of a mile south from the entrance to Camp Seeley off Highway 138, according to the San Bernardino National Forest Service.