Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 33.52330°N / 116.42472°W
Additional Information County: Riverside
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 8716 ft / 2657 m
Sign the Climber's Log


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 traveled 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 judgment. The penalty can be severe.

Toro PeakToro 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 turnoff 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 PeakLook 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


(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.


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 PeakScene 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 (

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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MtnAire - Nov 10, 2007 6:41 pm - Voted 10/10

Toro Peak

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 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: The Hundred Peaks Section,Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club Driving & Climbing Guides: Toro Peak: Area peaks:Asbestos is right across Hwy 74. Santa Rosa Mtn. is on the way up to Toro.

Alex Wood

Alex Wood - Dec 21, 2008 11:33 am - Voted 10/10

Nice Page

but attach it to the Penisular Ranges so it can be found easily by other people.

Bob Burd

Bob Burd - Apr 28, 2009 8:30 pm - Hasn't voted

Indian property

"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.


surgent - Apr 30, 2009 6:27 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Indian property

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.


gimpilator - Dec 14, 2016 1:08 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Indian property

The access issue seems to have changed completely. I drove my Subaru up a few days ago. Not a single gate or sign prevented access on the road. In fact one sign mentioned public access for street legal vehicles. There were a lot of other people driving the road as well including families bringing kids up to play in the snow. Near the top several official campgrounds have been installed. The only mention of Indian land we saw was on the descent. We traversed from the west peak off-trail/road to the main peak. Coming down from the main summit on the road, about a tenth of a mile down, we passed through a closed gate which deterred access to the summit area. Two other people I know have done this peak recently which is what encouraged me to try it despite the hassle Scott reports about on this page. One of them did it on a week day and encountered workers at the top. He says they were friendly.


surgent - Dec 14, 2016 2:12 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Indian property

Thank you for this information. I am glad to see it's open again for access, and that it seems those in charge seem to be okay with allowing the public up there. I grow more and more convinced that my encounter up there was a fluke, maybe that one guy's dog had bit him and wife left him that morning, and was in a bad mod. Anyway, since this peak has had a history of being closed or being open, any new updates are always welcome.

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Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.

Peninsular RangesMountains & Rocks
California Fifty FinestMountains & Rocks