palm springs life photo contest

Monumental Beauty

Photo contest winners find magic in the mountains.

Steven Biller Attractions, Current PSL

palm springs life photo contest

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

Cactus Verdin
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