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.

hiking
21 days ago

hiking
22 days ago

trail running
22 days ago

Fabulous views and flowers

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail for day hiking with nice views once you get beyond the first mile or so. Several palm oases along the way. Good place to see Bighorn Sheep. If you hike in the fall (October through December) you can use the original trail a bit further in Dead Indian Canyon. It's a better start than the current trail.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful challenging
Hike! This time of year is great for the wild flowers but it's always a beautiful trail.

Toughest incline at the first 2.5 miles. Levels off. Have seen big horned sheep a couple of times (up close!). The best scenery of any trail. Have only gone as far as 3.9 miles and turned around.

trail running
1 month ago