Things to do Outdoors in Temecula

1. Explore the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve
Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts enjoy some of California's rarest and most beautiful landscapes by exploring 40 miles of trails (for the novice, advanced, and even wheelchair-friendly) at the 8,300-acre Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve. The 3,000-acre rolling grassland is regarded as one of California's fines and remaining, native bunchgrass prairie. Coast live oak woodlands and the rare, ancient Engelmann oak savanna are home to acorn woodpeckers, red-shouldered hawks, and great horned owls. Patches of coastal sage scrub are home to distinguished, horned lizards. In the spring, look for mule deer, long-eared cousins to moose and elk.

Access to trails is daily throughout the year, from sunrise to sunset. Two adobe structures on the Reserve date back to 1846 and once served as bunkhouses for cowboys. Private, naturalist-led hikes are available by advance reservation for groups of 12 people or more.

2. Saddle-up for a Horseback Ride through the Vineyards
A guided, horseback ride through the vineyards with Wine Country Trails by Horseback is an ideal way to experience Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country's natural richness first-hand. Rolling hills of trellised vines comprise vast vineyard acreage making for a scenic, leisurely tour. Rides are on quality, well-seasoned horses in the early morning when dew is still fresh on the vines; in the afternoon with gentle ocean breezes; and in the evening with the setting sun as a backdrop.

Wine Country Trails by Horseback offers packages combining features such as horseback tour, wine tasting, and gourmet dinner.

3. Hike the High-water Lakeview Loop Trail
Hiking boots and plenty of water are requisites for hiking the High-water Lakeview Loop Trail at Southern California's largest reservoir, 4,500-acre, Diamond Valley Lake. Located in what is known as the Valley of the Mastodons (for the fossils unearthed on-site during construction), the 21.8-mile trail loops around the lake over three dams and offers hikers incredible lake views and vistas.

Nearby is the Western Science Center, home to the exciting artifacts and Ice Age fossils found in the Diamond Lake area. Mastodons and mammoths are hallmarks of the LEED-certified Center's collection.

4. Watch Solar Cup Boats on the Water
Just east of Temecula Valley and surrounded by rolling hills of chaparral, is 1400-acre Lake Skinner - home to the annual Solar Cup solar-powered boat race, the largest in the United States. Sponsored by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the event, (May 18, 19, and 20) features single-seat boats each with an official skipper and sunlight as the only power source; qualifying events, endurance races, and sprint races.

Lake Skinner is also home to the annual Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival each June.