Palm to Pines Scenic Byway Tour
|Description: The Palms to Pines Scenic Byway offers a full variety of ecosystems in the Lower Sonoran region. From clusters of desert palms to high country conifer forests and snow-capped mountains, you will experience a contrast of ecosystems within a short distance. Admire fantastic views of the urbanized valley floor below, craggy mountains, and the San Gorgonio Wilderness area to the north on the Banning Pass section of the byway. Adventure Pass is required to recreate along this byway.|
Wildlife to Watch: Driving through the brushy, forested San Jacinto Mountains, there are vistas of the 11,500-foot Mount San Gorgonio and roadside views of western gray squirrels, coyotes, bobcats, and gray foxes. You may see mule deer, acorn woodpeckers, towhees, and many lizards including western skinks, alligator lizards, and coast-horned lizards at Indian Vista Overlook. Watch the trees at Alandale Fire Station for acorn woodpeckers, Stellar's jays, western scrub-jays and California ground squirrels. Keep an eye out for western bluebird nesting boxes placed along roadside trees in Garner Valley. Great blue herons and Caspian's terns inhabit Lake Hemet, a winter destination for American white pelicans, Canada geese, and other waterfowl. Bald eagles and whitetailed kites hunt near the lake; nearby meadows hide western meadowlarks and California quail. Cahuilla Tewanet Overlook is an arid world of cactus and pinyon pines favored by pinyon jays, prairie falcons, golden eagles, and many lizards. Watch for rare peninsular bighorn sheep on rocky ledges during your descent to Palm Desert.
Ownership: USDA Forest Service
Closest Town: Idyllwild, CA
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: