Twenty-Nine Palms, Joshua Tree National park, the Coachella Valley & the Salton Sea, Anza Borrego State Park, Mount Palomar Observatory and the King of the Missions

Roughly rectangle-shaped, 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 of the county and is a Mediterranean climate in the western portion of the county. 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.

The indigenous peoples of what is now Riverside County are the Luiseño, Cupeño and Cahuilla Indians. The Luiseño lived in the Aguanga and Temecula Basins, Elsinore Trough and eastern Santa Ana Mountains and southward into San Diego County. The Cahullia lived to the east and north of the Luiseño in the inland valleys, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains and the desert of the Salton Sea.

The first European settlement in the county was a Mission San Luis Rey de Francia estancia or farm, at the Luiseño village of Temecula. Grain and grapes were grown here.

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