The James Reserve is located in a remote wilderness setting (12 ha, 29 acres), surrounded entirely by the San Bernardino National Forest. The nearest services are 7 miles away. There are no public utilities except for telephone, we produce our own electricity using solar photovoltaics and generator. There is also a well on site with 10,000 gallons of water storage. Therefore power, heating, and water are very limited and require constant conservation by our users. Our satellite reserve, Oasis de los Osos Preserve (65 ha, 160 acres), is also located in Riverside County, approximately 12 miles northwest of Palm Springs. There are no facilities at Oasis.
Trailfinder Lodge Lab-dormitory complex accommodates thirty people in two comfortable bedrooms and two dorm-style rooms; a main room for dining and meetings; a fully equipped kitchen with a four burner stove and two refrigerators; a washbasin and two bathrooms with hot showers; a wood stove and additional gas heating.
An additional small cabin, the Blair House, is used to host special guests coming to the Reserve on special occasions. Pictures of the Blair house can be seen here.
In addition, a tent camping area can accommodate 4-5 tents. Other resources include wifi, several weather stations, a classroom equipped with vertebrate study skins, herbarium, insect collection, and microscopes, a library, and trail system. We do not have a caterer or janitorial service. Visitors are expected to provide their own food and clean the facilities before leaving the Reserve.
Resident staff live on-site, and are available for assistance. Staff offices are located in the Trailfinder Lodge. Roads are plowed during the winter, but we highly recommend calling ahead for road conditions. The California Highway Patrol requires that you always carry snow chains during the winter months.
Things you will need to bring with you–everything that you need to camp besides a tent, including:
- Sleeping bag, pillow and towel, etc.
- Your own toiletries
- Food (We have all the pots/pans, plates and utensils you will need).
- Flashlight or headlamp.
33 deg 48’30″N, 116 deg 46’40″W. T4S, R2E (SBB&M); portion of east half of sec 21. It is also found of the following USGS maps: Lake Fulmor 7.5′, San Jacinto Peak 7.5′, Banning 15″, Palm Springs 15″ (See “How to Get There”)
Fees are charged for overnight accommodations at Trailfinders Lodge, three smaller modular cabins, the campgrounds, and the stand-alone classroom. Fees include use of semi-private dormitory rooms, communal bathrooms with showers, kitchen with cooking supplies, desks, a small museum with herbarium and animal collections (skins), wireless Internet access within all our buildings and many outdoor areas, and access to Reserve databases. The fees schedule for use of the facilities can be found here.
Additional desert and montane sites are within 50 miles of the reserve, including access to high elevation sites via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Most sites are within a 45-60 minute drive.
Oasis de los Osos, a 65-ha (160-acre) satellite reserve, is located nearby at the base of the impressively steep North Face of the San Jacinto Mountains, north of Palm Springs, and has a mixture of desert scrub, riparian, and inland sage scrub species. A perennial stream, Lambs Creek, flows diagonally across the Preserve, creating small waterfalls. The Preserve includes the canyon carved by Lambs Creek as well as the surrounding landslide and alluvial fan deposits. There are no facilities available at Los Osos but primitive camping is allowed with an approved registration for use of the site.
Cahuilla Mountain, a 300-ha (740-acre) mountaintop is a USFS Research Natural Area with burned Black Oak and Coulter Pine (90% burned in July, 1996).
The San Jacinto Wilderness (40,000 acres USFS managed) and the Mount San Jacinto State Park Wilderness (10,000 acres California Department of Parks and Recreation managed) are available for studies via trails and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.