Welcome to SP!  -
Toro Peak
Mountain/Rock
Contribute 
 
Geography
Parents 
Mountains & Rocks
 
Mountains & Rocks
 
Mountains & Rocks
 

Toro Peak

 
Toro Peak

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 33.52330°N / 116.42472°W

Object Title: Toro Peak

County: Riverside

Activities: Hiking

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 8716 ft / 2657 m

 

Page By: surgent

Created/Edited: Jul 2, 2007 / Oct 24, 2013

Object ID: 307132

Hits: 14705 

Page Score: 83.69%  - 17 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

Overview

Toro Peak is the highest peak in the Santa Rosa Mountains in south-central Riverside County, southern California. Although sometimes overshadowed in fame and prominence by its bigger neighbor Mt San Jacinto, Toro stands far enough apart with enough prominence to make it a highly visible peak from many vantage points. The peak is easily viewed from vantage points in the Coachella Valley along Interstate-10 and the towns of Indio and Palm Desert, although the closer in to the foothills you get, the peak becomes hidden from view. The best view, in my opinion, is from the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to the south, where one can view nearly all of Toro's magnificent 8,716 feet of height.

The peak lies on the Santa Rosa Indian Reservation, which is a checkerboard of mile-square sections interspersed with BLM and forest lands. A service road leads to the top, which makes hiking a simple affair (except if you're me). Most people will hike Toro for its status as one of California's most prominent mountains, not for its mountaineering challenges. However, views up high are tremendous!

Notice: on my first attempt, May 2007, I was stopped by a work crew just 40 feet below the summit. They weren't too happy to see me and one guy seemed to itch for a fight. On my second visit, May 2008, I played it safe and travelled cross-country past the gate to stay off the road and out of sight. The San Bernardino Forest people had posted a sign at the Y-junction prohibiting entry due to fire danger, and the gate farther up had a no trespassing sign (Indian lands). Use your judgement. The penalty can be severe.

Toro Peak
Toro Peak Panorama as seen from Fonts Wash, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, December 2006 (click on it for the full-size image - you may need to click again on the image if your browser does not automatically enlarge the photos.)

Getting There

Access is off of State Highway CA-74, about 25 miles from I-10 off the Monterey Exit via Palm Desert (18 miles from the intersections of CA 74/111 in downtown Palm Desert), or about 7-8 miles east of the junctions of CA-371/74, if coming up from San Diego or Hemet. Look for San Bernardino National Forest Road 7S02 marked by an obvious sign for Santa Rosa Mountain on the south side of the highway. The road is dirt and moderately bumpy, so high-clearance is mandatory and 4-wheel drive is strongly recommended. The road gains from desert chapparal mix up to pine forest with great views on occasion. There are sections where the road is very narrow so be careful and mindful of oncoming drivers. Ten miles (my odometer said 9.8) is the turn off for Santa Rosa Mountain. Another mile or so leads to a broad flat called Toro Camp which is a good place to park. Another mile or so after that is a Y-junction. There is room to park here as well but it is tight. The road is gated a few hundred feet past the Y-junction.

Toro Peak
Look for this sign.

Red Tape

This is the only contact information I found for the SRIR:

Anthony Largo, Chairperson
Santa Rosa Reservation
325 North Western Ave.
Hemet, CA 92343
P: 909/849-4671
F: 909/849-5612

(source)

(The website dates from ~1997, so keep that in mind)

---

California has many Indian Reservations that fan out across the land in maddening checkerboard fashion, in which public lands are alternated with private/indian lands, making access "officially" very difficult, even to the public insections. This is the case with the top parts of Toro Peak. Turn back if you feel it's not right. Good luck asking for official access. My experience is that (a) they won't know what you are talking about or (b) won't be in at all to answer your questions.

Camping

Along Santa Rosa Mountain Road, there are many pull-outs along the road for the first five miles off the paved highway. Higher up the options are more limited. Santa Rosa Spring and CG is an option at about mile 8, and Toro Flat mentioned above is also an option, with room for maybe 3-4 groups. Cheap hotels are in Indio. Much nicer digs are in Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta. For the SPer on the 7-figure salary, Indian Wells is the place to be seen.

The Pinyon Flat campground is along highway CA-74 about 3 miles east of the Santa Rosa Mountain Road intersection. Fees are reasonable ($8 in 2008).

Toro Peak
Scene from the Toro Peak Road, still lower down.

Weather, Road

Snow up high in winter will probably close the roads lower down. Summer would be fine, it might get hot, but at 8,700 feet the hottest days will still mean temps only in the 80-90s at most (low 30s C). Just take the road slow.

Gas and supplies should be obtained while still in Palm Desert, or if coming from the west, Hemet or the little towns along CA-371. This stretch of CA-74 is very scenic but does not have convenient fuel/food stops.

Road (2013): Apparently there is a new gate spanning the road off of highway 74. This means that you are in for a long walk to the top.

External Link

Trip report with photos (www.surgent.net)

Additions and Corrections

[ Post an Addition or Correction ]
Viewing: 1-4 of 4    
MtnAireToro Peak

MtnAire

Voted 10/10

I found the following info for the Santa Rosa Mountains:



Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center

51-500 Highway 74

Palm Desert, CA 92260

760-862-9984



http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/palmsprings/santarosa.2.html



A call to the The Monument Visitor Center verified that Santa Rosa Mtn. Road reopened 11-8-07. It had been closed due to extreme wildfire danger and lack of available firefighters.



Three camgrounds, Pinyon Flat (@ 4,000'), Ribbonwood Equestrian (@ 4,000') and Santa Rosa Springs (@ 7,200') are designated on the agency's map and further listed on the San Bernardino National Forest website:

http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/recreation/camping/index.shtml



The Hundred Peaks Section,Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club Driving & Climbing Guides:

Toro Peak:

http://angeles.sierraclub.org/hps/guides/30e.htm



Area peaks:Asbestos is right across Hwy 74. Santa Rosa Mtn. is on the way up to Toro.

http://angeles.sierraclub.org/hps/hpslist.htm#30
Posted Nov 10, 2007 6:41 pm
Alex WoodNice Page

Alex Wood

Voted 10/10

but attach it to the Penisular Ranges so it can be found easily by other people.
Posted Dec 21, 2008 11:33 am
Bob BurdIndian property

Bob Burd

Hasn't voted

"In my opinion, the access is kind of cloudy, so you'll have to follow your nose here to play it safe."



It's pretty clear from the HPS writeup (link provided by MtnAire) that the peak is off-limits to peakbaggers, not cloudy at all. The HPS has even designated nearby Pt. 8,316ft as a replacement. Still, the odds of being caught are very low. You're the only one I've heard of being confronted up there.
Posted Apr 28, 2009 8:30 pm
surgentRe: Indian property

surgent

Hasn't voted

I read the HPS route info a few weeks ago and noted the new edits about avoiding Toro Peak proper and going to the consolation peak 8316. Prior to that, the HPS page simply suggested to park at the Y and walk to the top. The Santa Rosa band may be cracking down on visitation. In any case, the work crew surrounding me and telling me to get lost was an unpleasant experience. I went back, did it properly and now I never need to go back, ever! But yes, your point is well-taken. The peak is "off limits" but it is unclear just how carefully it will be patrolled.
Posted Apr 30, 2009 6:27 pm

Viewing: 1-4 of 4    

Images

Toro Peak SunsetToro Peak Toro PeakToro PeakToro PeakToro Peak Toro Peak
Toro PeakToro PeakToro PeakToro Peak in winterToro Peak from the Summit of Combs Peak