Streams & Rivers in the Inland Empire


On a hot summer's day, the Inland Empire in Southern California has several streams and rivers that can be used to cool off. These streams and rivers are popular for fishing, camping, hiking, dirt-bike riding and other outdoor recreational activities. With three river systems and six major creeks, the Inland Empire has numerous areas to explore.

Colorado River -- Needles

  • On the border between California and Arizona, the Colorado River-Needles area has several camping and boating facilities on the river at Needles. Fish found in the river include large-mouth bass, panfish, catfish, carp and stocked rainbow trout winter through spring. If boat fishing, have the correct Arizona Enhancement sticker on you California fishing license.

Santa Ana River

  • Located in the scenic San Bernadino mountains near the city of Redlands. Part of the San Bernardino National Forest, the Santa Ana River area includes many campgrounds and hiking trails. If you wish to park, you will have to purchase a National Forest Adventure Pass from the ranger station at Barton Flats.

Santa Margarita River

  • Located in southwestern Riverside County, near the town of Fallbrook, much of the land surrounding the Santa Margarita River belongs to the Camp Pendleton Marine base or is privately owned. Public access is available about 10 miles north of Fallbrook, off of De Luz Road.

Cleghorn Creek

  • Cleghorn Creek is near the city of San Bernardino and is a popular fishing area stocked with rainbow trout during the winter, spring and summer months.

Fuller-Mill Creek

  • Fuller-Mill Creek is in Riverside County, near the city of Banning. It offers camping at the Fuller-Mill campground. The creek gets stocked with rainbow trout in the spring and early summer months.

Lytle Creek

  • Located near the city of San Bernardino, Ltyle Creek offers camping and picnic areas at the Applewhite Campground area. Some under-developed campsites can also be found along the middle and south forks.

Mill Creek

San Jacinto Creek, North Fork

  • Day hiking is permitted but no over-night camping. You will need a daily Wilderness Permits available at any ranger office. Display the pass in your windshield if you plan on parking your car.

Trabuco Creek

  • Trabuco Creek is located off of Interstate 5 in Orange County. Bring a truck or SUV with decent ground clearance due to large rocks and branches that often cover the road. Wilderness Permits must be purchased and displayed in your windshield if you plan to park.

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