The stark Colorado Desert, with its agave, ocotillo, and creosote, rises up boulder-strewn and eroded canyons to chaparral, juniper, and pine-covered ridges. Elevations change drastically from just above sea level to over 7,000 feet. Seemingly desolate and inhospitable, the Santa Rosa Mountains are laced with deep washes and shallow drainages. Several riparian streams flow year-round. Blistering summer heat is sometimes relieved by thunderstorms that send torrents of water down the sandy washes. Many of these regions are important lambing sites for bighorn sheep; in fact, the mountains support the largest herd of rare peninsular bighorn sheep in the United States. Coniferous forests high in these mountains provide habitat for mule deer, while the desert below houses numerous reptiles including the desert slender salamander. Great horned owls soar in the night skies, and falcons and eagles nest and forage throughout the Wilderness. The primary access into the Wilderness is the 9.5-mile Cactus Spring Trail.
Easy hike with some elevation gain giving you a good glimpse of some amazing ground level dessert landscape filled with unique plants and rocks as well as a good vista of you get all the way to the top and back down. Very accessible, easy free parking. Restrooms and water is available at the visitors center. Highly recommend if you want to stay close to the city.
This is a very well marked trail which I really like. No chance on getting lost. It is fairly easy and very little elevation (in my opinion) for those who don't like elevation gain. I really enjoyed this hike and had enough energy left over to do about an hour of the Art Smith trail which is across the street when I was done. BTW The Art Smith is also quite nice and well marked.
Perhaps desert hiking is not my favorite hiking... But this was a well marked trail, heavy sand in the wash area, the ridge route was nice. Couldn't get a view of the valley, as the prohibited area protecting the Big Horn sheep prevented us from peeking over the ridge. I was a bit disappointed.
Brant V. on Randall Henderson Loop Trail
This was a nice little hike...more of a long walk. Trail is well maintained. Runners are fine. Was fun with the limited time we had available.