Description - The Inland Empire offers valley cities rich in culture and history and nearby mountain communities with a wealth of recreational opportunities. With its soaring mountains, alpine lakes, historic sites, lush vineyards and colorful entertainment, the Inland Empire is a year-round destination.
Copyright: California State Parks
Mount San Jacinto State Park
- The skyline is dominated by three major peaks more than 10,000 feet high. The Inland Empire features both the Cleveland and San Bernardino National Forests 7,000 foot high Big Bear Lake and mile-high Lake Arrowhead, as well as numerous state parks and state historic parks.
In the 1880s, Southern California looked a lot like the sun-kissed land depicted in the orange-crate labels of the day. It was a romantic vision of the Golden State, to be sure, but it wasn't far from the truth. The scenes on many of those crates were from the actual citrus groves around Riverside, home to Eliza and Luther Tibbets, who, around 1875, planted the first seedless orange tree in California-a tree that bears fruit even today, not far from California Citrus State Historic Park. Palms still sway here as well, lining the streets in front of Victorian homes in Redlands and shading the grounds of the historic Mission Inn Hotel in Riverside.
The depictions of the snowy peaks weren't an illusion either. The scenic Rim of the World Highway, just north of San Bernardino, winds its way through national forests thick with fragrant pines and cedars. In winter, when temperatures in the Inland Empire are in the 70s or warmer, you can get up to the mountains in less than an hour to ski at Snow Summit or Big Bear Mountain, snowboard at Snow Valley, or just go sledding around Big Bear Lake.
On the other side of the mountains are the Lucerne and Apple Valleys, where you can pick your own peaches and pears in the summer and apples in the fall. Apples are also the fruit of choice in Yucaipa and Oak Glen, just east of Redlands, while the foothill community of Beaumont holds an annual cherry festival in June to celebrate its most famous crop. Straddling the craggy San Jacinto Mountains, Idyllwild attracts cross-country skiers in winter and artists, who come here to capture its alpine beauty, in summer. Farther south, Temecula has blossomed into a major wine-producing area. In summer you can tour the vineyards, enjoy an outdoor concert, or hover over the Inland Empire's new fruit king in a hot air balloon-a scene that no doubt has inspired new generations of artists looking for quintessential images that capture the Southern California good life.
Recreation - The diverse Inland Empire offers a wide range of outdoor recreation activities. Some of the most popular include: swimming, boating, fishing, horseback riding, climbing, hiking, road biking, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, picnicking, and camping.
Climate - A warm, dry Mediterranean climate prevails over Southern California - inland it is generally hot in the summer and mild in the winter. During the summer, valley temperatures can soar above 100 degrees while remaining pleasant in the mountains. Most of the precipitation comes as rain during the winter months. During the winter months higher elevations experience snow and freezing temperatures.
The Inland Empire is found inland from the coast in southern California, 30 miles east of Los Angeles and 20 miles west of Palm Springs. It surrounds the communities of Ontario, San Bernardino, Riverside and Idyllwild. The main highways accessing this region are Interstate 15 running north/south and Interstate 10 running east/west.