When we started this blog back in April 2010 we kept it private for a couple of years, not wanting our employers to know we were considering pulling the plug on the working world. But the hike we did on our first day here reminded me that it was the location of my very first blog post!
Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Preserve has miles of trails meandering through the rolling foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains. Open grasslands are dotted with massive Engelmann oaks, riparian creek beds and even vernal pools after a wet winter. We've seen coyotes, snakes and deer here, and it's incredibly green and gorgeous in the spring (check out that first post for all the green!). Well worth a stop if you are in the Temecula/Murrieta area.
|We were enchanted by the swoopy clouds ushering in a mild front |
that ended up dropping a few sprinkles on this very parched area over night.
Lake Skinner, actually a reservoir, was a peaceful place to stay for a few nights. If you want to check out the Temecula Wine Country the park is right on the North edge of the wine trail. The park is surrounded by beautiful coastal sage and boulder strewn hills, but you can only appreciate them from afar as they are protected and provide habitat for lots of wildlife, important in this area that has experienced a population explosion in the past 25+ years.
The lake is open to fishing and boating, though with the current low water level only one of the boat ramps is open. Swimming is not allowed in the reservoir. There are lots of family focused activities here: a large playground, splash pad, boat rentals, concert stage. There are a couple of large festivals held here each year, including the Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival.
This park can get crazy busy on weekends, especially in the summer. When we called just a couple of days prior to arrival to get a site for three nights (including a Friday night) we were told we got the last perimeter site in Loop C (reviewers say Loop C is the calmest place to be during peak times). Turns out the park was not even half full during our entire stay and we never had next door neighbors.
Roads are paved and sites are dirt with a picnic table and fire pit. The sites are fairly close together and the perimeter sites are generally much better than those in the middle rows. This was a very peaceful place to stay at this time of year, though the park will be FULL for Thanksgiving weekend. The only sounds at night were coyotes and owls. We had a decent Verizon signal that became full signal when boosted.
|Site 308 in C Loop is backed by a wide grassy area.|
Though site 307 is close, in the foreground, we never had a neighbor during our stay.
|Lake Skinner is quite low but still provides pretty reflections and an excellent bird habitat.|
|There's a cormorant rookery in the eucalyptus trees, at sundown they all took flight,|
as well as a large flock of Great Egrets, a few are visible bottom right.
What a beautiful place! Love your photo of Lake Skinner.ReplyDelete
Thank you! I'm glad to learn of your blog, looks like we have a love of hiking in common.Delete
Wonderful area. I love the shots of the birds!Delete
Don't you just love when you don't have neighbors! Looks like a nice lay over spot:)ReplyDelete
Love that first photo of brilliant blue sky and those curly clouds!
Even though the lake is very low, your reflections photo came out great.
Nice place. We'll have to check it out when we're in Aguanga. We're in site 222 at Santee now. Drop by any time!ReplyDelete
It's nice to be settled into such a pretty park for a month, isn't it?! We are in site 267. We will drop by and say hello if you are around, feel free to drop by our place as well!Delete
Your pictures are so beautiful. That Lake skinner one looks professional. Really fine!ReplyDelete
A spot where the nights sounds are coyotes and owls sounds perfect to me.
Thanks for the great tip on camping at Lake Skinner! We've been wanting to spend a few days around Temecula to do some wine tasting, so that will be a perfect place to stay. Your photo of the lake and clouds is just gorgeous.ReplyDelete
I could not believe it when we drove out of the park and less than a mile later saw directional signs for about a dozen wineries! Off season is best for a peaceful stay!Delete
Although the desert will always be "home" for me, I lived in Wildomar for nine years so you're definitely in familiar territory at Lake Skinner. It really is lovely when not crowded. Love the pic of the large oak, makes me miss the Plateau :-) You must feel like a different person from the newbie who jumped into the blogosphere over four years ago!ReplyDelete
Every time we go to Santa Rosa Plateau I am enchanted by the place. I've definitely noticed an increase in the number of folks on the trails over the years...but with so many trails it's easy for them all to spread out.Delete
It's funny how 10 years ago I never would have suspected I'd end up blogging about my life!
wow what a nice site... we are at Mission Bay till Jan 3rd maybe we will cross paths...ReplyDelete
Hey! We arrive at Mission Bay on Jan 2! (After Santee we are spending 10 nights in Hans' brothers driveway to house sit before we head to Mission Bay.)Delete
That is one beautiful hawk...awesome photo Lisa!ReplyDelete
And I love the colors and reflection in the lake Skinner photo...
If all goes well, we plan to be at the San Diego Metro KOA Jan 4-Feb 4. Mission Bay has a 2 dog limit. We will have friends there though...
We will be at Mission Bay from 1/2 - 2/2 so perhaps our paths will cross!Delete