Twenty years ago, Congress designated the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains — the range enveloping south and west ends of the Coachella Valley — as a national monument, protecting its biological, cultural, recreational, geological, and educational values for generations to come.
The 280,000-acre monument extends from Interstate 10 and Highway 111 north of Palm Springs all the way to the Salton Sea and rises from around sea level to almost 11,000 feet. Divided by the Indian Canyons, the Santa Rosas and San Jacintos are lush with plant and animal life, including rare and endangered species such as yellow-legged frogs and peninsular bighorn sheep.
To celebrate the anniversary, Palm Springs Life launched the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Photo Contest. Amateur and professional photographers entered 619 images in five categories: landscape, wildlife, flora, sunset, and experiential. Our staff chose 62 finalists, and a panel of judges representing monument stakeholders — the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and Friends of the Desert Mountains — selected the winners presented in this feature.
Amateur / Experiential
Driving in Style, Living With Nature
Stephanie Hooper, Bellevue, Washington
Amateur / Sunset
Social Distancing Sunset in San Jacinto Wilderness
Amy Laichareonsup, Banning
Amateur / Flora
Flocked in October
Nelson Earl, Palm Springs
Amateur / Wildlife
Three Sisters: Can We Move Yet?
Carol Davis, Palm Desert
Professional / Wildlife
Patrick Walsh, Palm Desert
Professional / Landscape
Indian Canyon Trail
Dean Mayo, Indio
Professional / Sunset
Cotton Candy Skies in the Desert
Josh Kizziar, Beaumont
Professional / Flora
Teddy Bear Cholla, Reaching for the Sun
Larry Brown, Sunnyvale
Professional / Experiential
Hiking by the Moonlight in La Quinta Cove, February 8, 2020
Keith Forsman, Eden Prairie, Minnesota