The Santa Rosa Plateau is located in the Southern section of the Santa Ana Mountains, and is one of the best short routes out there. Consisting of 9000 acres, the Reserve protects unique ecosystems such as Engelmann oak woodlands, riparian wetlands, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, bunchgrass prairie, and vernal pools as well as more than 200 species of native birds and 49 endangered, threatened or rare animal and plant species, including mule deer, mountain lions, badgers, bobcats, western pond turtles, white-tailed kites and fairy shrimp. Of the two species of fairy shrimp that live in the seasonal vernal pools on the Reserve, one is found only here and nowhere else on Earth! It is one of the best maintained parks and offers incredible hiking as well. The route we provided is accessible to equestrians, mountain bikers and hikers, with the other portion of the reserve open only to hikers. Make sure to pick up a map from the visitor center so you can go back and hike it as well. It is well worth it!
Distance: 6,74 mi
Avg Speed: 10,2 mph
Elevation Gain: 443 ft
Calories: 432 C
Avg Temperature: 73,3 °F
Take the 15 freeway
exit Clinton Keith and head west (towards Santa Ana mountains) for approximately 4.3 miles
Visitor center is on the left side
Enter trailhead on Tovashal Trail. The loop begins with an immediate but short climb. You will descend right after.
.15 continue right on Tovashal Trail
1.0 right on Sylvan Meadows Rd. This is nice, open fire road and offers fantastic scencery of the meadow.
1.5 right on Shivela Trail
1.9 right on Stevenson Canyon Tr and begin climbing. You will see a trail entrance on your left but continue climbing until you notice a second singletrack entrance to your left. You will know you are there because there is a small bridge to cross. This descent is one of the highlights of the loop. Nothing technical, just a lot of fun! You will exit this section and make a right to get back to Shivela.
3.1 right on Shivela until it ends. Make a left and head toward Clinton Keith rd and cross the street. You will see the Fenceline trailhead in front of you.
3.9 cross stree and enter Fenceline Tr. Go left. This is a fast and smooth section so use caution as other hikers, bikers and equestrians use the trail.
4.7 Fenceline ends at parking area. Cross Clinton Keith again and enter Sylvan Meadows area. Ride towards trailhead on your right and enter Montero Tr. Head right. You will notice several trails to the sides, but they all lead back to Montero.
5.2 Montero will merge back to Sylvan Meadows Rd and take you towards the left.
5.7 right on Cajalco. You also have the option of taking Old Cattle run trail, which merges back with Cajalco.
6.4 Back to Tovashal and back to car