When they do have a large group of students, say 60 or so, they will split them into three groups and put them in different rooms.  They also do not have a full kitchen but keep a refrigerator, microwave and supplies in the hallway.  

What the Santa Rosa Plateau is known for is its extensive trails for walking, biking and equestrian hikes within the Santa Rosa Ecological Reserve, which consists of 9,000 acres.  The various ecosystems include woodlands, riparian wetlands, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, and vernal pools.  The trails themselves don't have many fancy signs or educational displays, but they are well maintained and very extensive for even the avid hiker.  There are also plenty of picnic areas, historical adobe buildings, interpretive programs, outreach programs for third granders, guest speakers, and family wildlife days.  

Normal fees:  $4 for adults; $3 for children (ages 2 through 12)

Additional fees are charged for groups or special events.  Programs are enhanced through fundraising by the Santa Rosa Plateau Foundation.

Third Grade Schools/Groups may schedule a 2.5 hour program at the Ecological Reserve. The program includes a two-hour, one-mile hike through four distinct plant communities, focusing on the geology, animal and plant life, and human history of the area.

Registration is required.  Normal fee is $3 per student.  

Santa Rosa Plateau Nature Center

​The Santa Rosa Plateau is located 5 miles east of Highway 15 in Murrieta, CA, off of Clinton Keith Road.  The parking lots holds 90 cars which, according to Robert Hicks, the manager, is inadequate. When necessary, they direct their visitors to three other lots down the road.

The center itself is 3300 square feet and was constructed in 1987.  It was designed to be used exclusively as an Administrative Office building, but since a Nature Center was not built, it doubles as a small Nature Center with a few displays and retail products.  They also use one of the rooms for small classes.   


The Santa Rosa Plateau's website describes its trails as follows:

​Oak grasslands, Spring wildflowers, historic adobe ranch house, vernal pools This loop hike takes in much of the west end of the preserve. From the trailhead, take the left hand trail 1/4 mile, turn right on the Trans-Preserve trail. Stick with this trail until you reach the Vernal Pools trail. Turn left to the pools, the most crowded area on the preserve. Continue off the mesa about 1 mile to the historic ranch adobe, where you can picnic and relax under a huge Live Oak tree. From the adobe, take the Punta Mesa trail towards Monument Hill. Watch for the left branching trail just before the main trail; a dirt road, angles right. Take the left fork down off the hill to another dirt road and a stream crossing. When you arrive at a gate, look for the start of the Trans-Preserve trail, which you follow until you see your original path coming in from the right. Turnright to the trailhead.

IN CONCLUSION:  The Santa Rosa Plateau is a popular day-hike destination, but the Visitor Center along with the parking facilities are inadequate for the population in this area, especially considering the huge explosion of growth we've experienced in the last twenty years.  Currently, there are no plans to open a Nature Center, as water and electricity are not readily available.


39400 Clinton Kieth Road

Murrieta CA 92562


Approx. 6,000 people visit this center yearly.  The preserve itself is open from sunrise to sunset.  However, the visitor center is open daily from 9 to 5, except closed on Monday.  

Fees for Hiking:  $4 for adults; $3 for children 2-12

Additional fees will apply for group visitors