Nature & Science

View from the Rim of the World Scenic Byway near Running Springs

Animals and Plants

The San Bernardino National Forest contains a wide range of ecosystems, from mixed conifer forests and oak woodlands, to, pinyon juniper stands, chaparral and semi-desert areas, which are home to a variety of plant and wildlife species. There are 71 threatened or endangered wildlife species on the forest.

The local mountains provides habitat for bald eagles, peregrine falcons, bighorn sheep and many endangered plants (there are more than 85 species of sensitive plants).

The San Bernardino National Forest encompasses an area of 676,666 acres of habitat ranging in elevation from 440 feet above sea level in Palm Springs to 11,499 feet atop Mt. San Gorgonio, the highest point within the forest. Most of the forest is composed of steep, rugged transverse mountains containing watersheds which supply several reservoirs. The major mountain ranges within the forest are the San Gabriel, San Bernardino, San Jacinto and Santa Rosa.

The climate varies from the high elevation cool summers and snowy winters, to the hot dry summers in the high and low deserts of southern California. The coastal facing ridges are often tempered by fog and marine air masses resulting in very moderate, year round temperatures. 

The vast land area, and the elevational and climatic factors, play a major role in the diversity of habitat types found on the San Bernardino.

Related Links

Plants of the San Bernardino Mountains (courtesy of Heaps Peak Arboretum)

USFS Celebrating Wildflowers Website

USFS Trees Website

USFS Fall Colors Website