Rising abruptly from the desert floor, the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument reaches an elevation of 10,834 feet at the summit of Mount San Jacinto. Providing a picturesque backdrop to local communities, the National Monument significantly contributes to the Coachella Valley's lure as a popular resort and retirement community. It is also a desirable backcountry destination that can be accessed via trails from both the valley floor and the alpine village of Idyllwild.
The National Monument’s boundary encompasses about 280,000 acres, including 67,000 acres within the San Jacinto Ranger District of the San Bernardino National Forest, and 97,000 acres within the Bureau of Land Management’s California Desert Conservation Area. The National Monument includes two federal wilderness areas -- the Santa Rosa Wilderness and the San Jacinto Wilderness -- as well as lands owned and administered by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, California Department of Parks and Recreation, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, municipalities of the Coachella Valley, and private landowners.
The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument was established by an Act of Congress on October 24, 2000 "in order to preserve the nationally significant biological, cultural, recreational, geological, educational, and scientific values found in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains and to secure now and for future generations the opportunity to experience and enjoy the magnificent vistas, wildlife, land forms, and natural and cultural resources in these mountains and to recreate therein" (Public Law 106-351). Establishment of the National Monument reflects the vision of local citizens and national leaders to ensure this special landscape is protected for all time.