Looking for a great trail in Santa Rosa Wilderness, California? AllTrails has 6 great hiking trails, views trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Gearing up for a challenge? There are 4 hard trails in Santa Rosa Wilderness ranging from 12.4 to 23.8 miles and from 308 to 6,646 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!

hiking

views

nature trips

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
no shade
16 days ago

hiking
no shade
off trail
rocky
1 month ago

Hiked on 9/18/2019. Used 3L of water. Little/no shade. HOT! Get an early start. When I finished 10:20am (started 6:20am), it was 104F. Didn't see another hiker on loop, just some newbies farting around in the parking lot on mountain bikes. I parked off Potrero, which tacked about a mile on the total.

hiking
no shade
rocky
1 month ago

Bring lots of water. This is an awesome ridge hike from the desert floor gaining basically 5000 feet. Lots of false peaks on the way. Don’t let your guard down until you hit the actual peak.

hiking
2 months ago

1st 5 k is sandy to hard picked mostly uphill to steep uphill. Next 5k is runnable downhill but single track trail with cactus and succulent close to trail. So be careful. Next 5k is scrapple to sandy with downhill and sharp turns over cliffs. Again careful. After that is it rolling hills and mostly downhill. A total of a bit short of 20k and it works well. But it is hot and the trails are well groomed and packed sand to sandy. Just a few areas of rocky road and a good trail.

hiking
bugs
no shade
2 months ago

on Boo Hoff Trail

hiking
no shade
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Lovely trail, well marked. We went 5 miles out and then back. Lots of up and down! A bit rocky in spots. Really beautiful.

hiking
4 months ago

Today was perfect weather for hiking. But the hike after you’ve reached the highest point and along the top, is disappointing. Sandy vehicular track followed by tracking a metalled road to Lake Cahuilla was no fun - very easy and a bit boring after the joys of the trail summit. Next time I will hike for 10k from the Cove and then turn back - a much better 20k outing!

Hard to pick trail up about half way to agua alta. Beautiful trail though. A local gave us a tip this last time on rock carrens leading you all the way to agua alta. Water is at agua alta he showed me himself. Him and some friends went a couple weeks ago and cleared the roots from the spring and installed a valve to keep a light drip for the animals. AWESOME! Can't wait to come back and conquer this dessert trail. Happy Trails everyone

Views are really something once you hit 3,500ft + The trail has a lot of loose rock - easy to twist an ankle. I wouldn’t do it a second time — ones enough.

Hiked this the first weekend of April. The weather on the way up was perfect, lots of gusts and clouds to help us keep cool. We brought two gallons of water each, and were able to get out of there with water to spare. Though, if it were as hot as the second day, (80s) I’d suggest bringing a little more. Personally, I believe villager peak was the most beautiful and enjoyable part of the route. It was mostly a straight shot up, with little flats for recovery. Rabbit peak was a very challenging set of inclines and declines, but was very rewarding to complete. Most of the hike beyond villager was a faint and broken trail. It took regular scanning to trying and stay on it, but I noticed if we just hug the ridge, it would appear again.

hiking
5 months ago

My wife and I intended to hike Horse Thief Creek, but there were no signs for the trail. It seems it’s just a shorter version of Cactus Springs. We hiked out about 1.5 miles and back. It was different environment than the desert hikes we had been doing. A lot of up and down in the section we hiked, nothing to difficult. We were the only 2 people on the trail. The drive up on the scenic by-way was a great drive.

hiking
no shade
5 months ago

Beautiful trail for the most part, good areas for trail running. Decent challenge and a lovely way to spend the day.

hiking
5 months ago

Love this hike - you definitely get to move up hug the mountain and go down into pillowy desert flora Brought a couple pairs of socks to change into And bring your sticks - nice little four wheel drive on foot

on Cactus Spring Trail

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
6 months ago

from parking lot it is about 5 km to sign that denotes "wilderness". you have climbed about 425 metres, too. fabulous views and not much traffic.

hiking
6 months ago

Nice and cool escape from Palm Springs. Spring is nice, but nothing special - just a small trickle

no shade
off trail
rocky
6 months ago

hard trail with lots of loose gravel underfoot. no shade. great views at the top. happy to have done it, wont do it again.

hiking
7 months ago

Perfect weather when I did this trail on my own. We were camping so I started on the Cove to Lake trail from the lake. Majestic views. I climbed a little higher than the trail at the top and wish there were an actual trail option for this. Saw no one on the way down and feel that it could be better marked at the end when you enter the wash to come back out at the golf community. It took me 6 hours with stops along the way and I drank most of my 2 litter bladder even though temperatures were cool at the top. Great loop hike.

hiking
7 months ago

Trail in great condition considering the amount of rain we have had Lots of up and up and up was fantastic great views A few cactus have started to bloom need some heat to get them to full bloom

hiking
7 months ago

Almost made it to the top ! Long walk out and back.

hiking
no shade
rocky
7 months ago

Definitely the best expert-level trail for mountain biking. This Trail equals those that would be found in Mammoth Mountain or Tahoe... one thing to keep in mind is there are TONS of caves so make sure to bring protection. Additionally, especially the higher up you go, the potential for rain goes up. Absolutely beautiful!

Load More