Riverside County, California

Location of Riverside County in California: 


Riverside County, California, is one of fifty-eight counties in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 2,189,641, making it the 4th-most populous county in California and the 11th-most populous in the United States. The name was derived from the city of Riverside, which is the county seat.

Riverside County is included in the Riverside-San BernardinoOntario, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, also known as the Inland Empire. The county is also included in the Los AngelesLong Beach, CA Combined Statistical Area. There is a high concentration of sprawling tract housing communities around Riverside and along the Interstate 10, 15, and 215 freeways.

Roughly rectangular, Riverside County covers 7,208 square miles (18,670 km2) in Southern California, spanning from the Greater Los Angeles area to the Arizona border. Geographically, the county is mostly desert in the central and eastern portions but has a Mediterranean climate in the western portion. Most of Joshua Tree National Park is located in the county.

The resort cities of Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage, and Desert Hot Springs are all located in the Coachella Valley region of Riverside County. Large numbers of Los Angeles area workers have moved to the county in recent years (data from the US Census Bureau for 2007 through 2011) to take advantage of the relatively affordable housing. Along with neighboring San Bernardino County, it was one of the fastest growing regions in the state prior to the recent changes in the regional economy. In addition, smaller, but significant, numbers of people have been moving into Southwest Riverside County from the San Diego-Tijuana metropolitan area. The cities of Temecula and Murrieta accounted for 20% of the increase in the population of the county between 2000 and 2007.

 • Total 7,303 sq mi (18,910 km2)
 • Land 7,206 sq mi (18,660 km2)
 • Water 97 sq mi (250 km2)
Highest elevation 10,843 ft (3,305 m)
Lowest elevation -234 ft (−71 m)

For more information regarding the County of Riverside, click here. Property tax information can be found here.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 7,303 square miles (18,910 km2), of which 7,206 square miles (18,660 km2) is land and 97 square miles (250 km2) (1.3%) is water. It is the fourth-largest county in California by area. At roughly 180 miles (290 km) wide in the east-west dimension, the area of the county is massive. Riverside County, California is roughly the size of the State of New Jersey in total area. County government documents frequently cite the Colorado River town of Blythe as being a “three-hour drive” from the county seat, Riverside. Some view the areas west of San Gorgonio Pass as the Inland Empire portion of the county and the eastern part as either the Mojave Desert or Colorado Desert portion. There are probably at least three geomorphic provinces: the Inland Empire western portion, the Santa Rosa Mountains communities such as Reinhardt Canyon, and the desert region. Other possible subdivisions include tribal lands, the Colorado River communities, and the Salton Sea.

Flora and fauna

Yucca pines near Ryan Mountain Trail in Joshua Tree National Park

There is a diversity of flora and fauna within Riverside County. Vegetative plant associations feature many desert flora, but there are also forested areas within the county. The California endemic Blue oakQuercus douglasii is at the southernmost part of its range in Riverside County.

National protected areas

There are 19 official wilderness areas in Riverside County that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Some are integral parts of the above-protected areas, most (11 of the 19) are managed solely by the Bureau of Land Management, and some share management between the BLM and the relevant other agencies. Some extend into neighboring counties:

State parks

County parks and trails


Major highways

Public transportation

  • Riverside Transit Agency serves the western third of Riverside County, as far east as Banning.
  • SunLine Transit Agency serves Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley area.
  • Palo Verde Valley Transit Agency provides service in Blythe, near Arizona
  • Pass Transit serves the San Gorgonio Pass communities.
  • Corona Cruiser serves the city of Corona.

Riverside County is also served by Greyhound buses. Amtrak trains stop in Riverside and Palm Springs, and Amtrak California provides bus connections to the San Joaquins in RiversideBeaumontPalm SpringsThousand PalmsIndioMoreno ValleyPerrisSun City and HemetMetrolink trains serve five stations in Riverside County: Riverside-DowntownRiverside-La SierraNorth Main-CoronaWest Corona, and Pedley Station (in the community of Pedley, California). These trains provide service to Orange, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles counties seven days a week, with a primarily commuter-oriented schedule.

In the late 2000s, local transportation options expanded, such as the addition of new railroad stations in Perris, California to connect travelers and commuters to or from southwest Riverside County, as well the Perris station serves the MetroLink mass transit train service in Corona, California.


Military air bases

Commercial airports

General aviation airports