California, United States
Toro Peak is a mountain in Southern California in the Santa Rosa Mountains.
South of Palm Springs, west of the Salton Sea, east of Temecula, California.
It is the highest mountain in the Santa Rosa Mountains, part of the mountain is administered
under the San Bernardino National Forest the other portions including the 8,716ft summit and
the United States Geological Survey marker on the summit registers year 1939 and portions of the mountain are
controlled and gated under the Santa Rosa Indian Reservation Another portion of the mountain is
under the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.
This mountain is easily visible from California State Route 74 looking south (also known as the Pines to Palms Highway)
the turn off is easily seen marked by a large sign along the south side of Route 74 for the Santa Rosa Mountains.
From this point onward the road heads southeast toward the mountain this is a rough dirt road that climbs
steadily for approximately 13 miles.
A 4x4 or off-road vehicle is highly recommended for this road as it becomes steep, rocky and rough in various spots as it
continues to climb the mountain, the road starting elevation is around 4,700' and climbs to a locked gate around 8,200ft
At that point you will have to hike or bike the last 500 feet up the summit, its a short walk up a rough maintenance road
that passes by former MCI's (now owned by Verizon Communications) primary power generator that
provides electricity to the summit as there are no electrical load lines that climb the mountain.
From Toro Peak's summit at an elevation of 8,716' (2,657 M) a commanding view of eastern southern California,
including views of the entire Santa Rosa Mountains to Palm Springs, neighboring mountains such as Mount San Jacinto,
Mount San Gorgonio, southwest looking to Palomar Mountain and Hot Springs Mountain all just to name a few.
To the east / southeast the Salton Sea and Imperial Valley are visible, on very clear days one may be able to
see Charleston Peak to the northeast in Nevada.
Toro Peak and the Santa Rosa Mountains are what as known as a sky island. The trees on this mountain have a nearly uniform
mixed variety of forest from as soon as the first trees appear on the lower slopes fading chaparral out to the summit, the mix of
Incense Cedar, White Fir, Jeffrey Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Sugar Pine and the highest slopes
retain surviving ice age remnants of Limber Pine, all other species of these trees ignore elevation separations
of vegetation or known as life zones, as seen on many other mountains, this is typical of the mountains closest to the pacific in California, where the trees "appear" For example white firs demonstrated in this picture at right, mixed trees at the lower timberline]] White Fir and Incense Cedar are seen growing on the lowest extent of the mountain beside dryer weather tolerant trees such as Jeffrey Pine and Ponderosa Pine of the mountains cleary separated on other mountains by life zones designated by elevation.
The climate on Toro Peak and the Santa Rosa Mountains can be unruly in the winter, snow falls on the mountain more than several times during the winter and accounts for most of the annual precipitation, with a smaller percentage of scattered thunderstorms during the summer, storms seeding in areas off the Sea of Cortez and or the Gulf of Mexico. Nighttime / daytime seasonal lows in the winter and seasonal summer highs are taken from long valley ranger station, on neighboring Mount San Jacinto which is within 30 miles of toro's peak's summit and within 300ft of Toro Peak's summit so the quantitative differences are minimal but this is the closest to being accurate as possible, in the image at right are some statistics taken from Long Valley ranger station / Mount San Jacinto (image to right)
This mountain is just one of the many scattered sky islands in the southwest, another unique mountain in southern California, high elevations to clear the smog emitted by Los Angeles and the Inland Empire, remoteness, limited human activity and remote campsites in various parts of the mountain make this a mountain of unique properties.