The western edge of Sand to Snow National Monument is located about 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of downtown Los Angeles. This aptly named monument encompasses 150,000 acres from the desert floor to the mountaintops in San Bernardino National Forest.
The focal point of the Sand to Snow National Monument is the 11,500-foot San Gorgonio Mountain, which rises sharply from the Sonoran Desert floor and is the highest peak in California south of the Sierra Nevada. This mountain is one of eleven peaks that are over 10,000 feet in elevation in the southeast portion of the San Bernardino Mountains. The area has some of the most rugged and steep topography in Southern California, with steep slopes culminating in a granite ridge over seven miles long and two miles high.
Hikers encounter much diversity along 50 kilometers (30 miles) of the Pacific Crest Trail that crosses through the monument, from Whitewater Canyon up 2100 meters (7,000) feet to Mission Springs. Desert oases, like the one in the top photograph below, are important refuges for animals and critical stopover spots for migrating birds.
The striking diversity of lands within this monument is breathtaking – they are filled with the stories of ancient peoples, soaring mountain peaks, critical wildlife corridors and rich biological diversity. They also offer a wide variety of recreation opportunities for urban populations living close to the shadows of these majestic mountain peaks – the San Gorgonio Mountain region serves as an important recreational hub for 24 million people living within a two-hour drive of the area.
Sand to Snow is a recent addition to the national monuments, created by President Obama on February 11, 2016. The Bureau of Land Management offers a map of the monument for download.
Size: 150,000 acres
Terrain Type(s): Desert, Mountain
Official Website: Visit Website