Harford Springs Reserve: A Quiet Oasis
With ranch style homes, rolling hills, and horses galore, Gavilan Hills sits between Lake Mathews and Mead Valley, a short drive from Corona or Perris. Hawks frequently soar overhead, which is fitting, as “Gavilan” means “hawk” in Spanish. The community also is home to the Harford Springs Reserve, a 325-acre park that offers a quiet oasis in western Riverside County.
Visitors are welcome to visit the Harford Springs Reserve trails, which are about 2,000 feet above sea level with impressive valley vistas. To get there, enter 21470 Gavilan Road, Perris, CA 92570 in a mapping app and travel to a small parking lot. You can easily access the Poison Oak Loop Trail and the rest of the reserve from this parking area. As the name suggests, you should watch for poison oak while exploring interesting rock formations and fauna.
If you are bringing your horse to the reserve, check out the day use staging area by continuing on Gavilan Road to Idaleanoa Road, and then turn left on Piedras Road. The Riverside County Regional Parks and Open-Space District recently opened a 1.8-acre parking and staging area where you can dismount your horse or park your car. From this staging area, you will have access to several trails, including the Wildflower Trail. The county’s website also provides this trail map.
Hiking the trails at the Harford Springs Reserve hike is a breath of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of local city life with only the sounds of wildlife and breezes in the trees. Before you head out, tell your friends and family where you are going, as there is little to no cell phone reception in the area.
Harford Springs Reserve hosts several MSHCP-protected species such as the Munz’s onion, Bell’s sage sparrow, and southern California rufous-crowned sparrow. The land is part of the 500,000 acres that the Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority is working to preserve through the MSHCP. Visiting sites like these will help residents gain a greater appreciation for nature and the 146 animal and plant species protected by the MSHCP. For more information, click here.