Calimesa is a city in Riverside County, California, United States in the Greater Los Angeles area. The population was 7,879 at the 2010 census, up from 7,139 at the 2000 census. It is situated in the San Gorgonio Pass.
The City of Calimesa was incorporated on December 1, 1990, soon after the incorporation of its northern neighbor, the City of Yucaipa. Prior to its incorporation, the City of Calimesa existed as an unincorporated census designated town that straddled the Riverside–San Bernardino County line at the location where Interstate 10 climbs the San Gorgonio Pass going eastward from Redlands, California.
Historically, Calimesa is divided from the City of Yucaipa by the Wildwood Canyon Wash; politically, "County Line Road" divides the two towns. Much of what was originally known as "Calimesa" actually lies within the city boundaries of Yucaipa, including "I-Street" (Calimesa) Park and Calimesa Elementary School. Because State of California law prohibits the incorporation or annexation of cities over county lines, the city was unable to adjoin what was considered the town of Calimesa when it finally incorporated. When Yucaipa incorporated, it included the area outside of the Yucaipa Valley on the "hilltop" or "mesa" that was traditionally known as Calimesa within its city boundaries, so as not to leave a gap of unincorporated area between the two towns. Although the two cities are in separate counties, both Yucaipa and Calimesa share the same basic street grid system and addressing, including many named and alphabetical streets which extend from Yucaipa well into Calimesa. The general boundary between the two cities is County Line Road, which ironically does not follow the exact county line in some places due to the alignment of Calimesa Creek, which meanders in and out of both Yucaipa and Calimesa.
The city limits of Calimesa also extend southwest to the City of Beaumont, California. Although much less refined, the boundaries between Beaumont and Calimesa fall generally along the Southern California Edison (SCE) right-of-way that extends from the El Casco electrical sub-station facility near Moreno Valley, California, eastward. Near Interstate 10, Champions Drive is the common boundary between the two cities.
The previous decade saw several planned communities approved for development within the city, including the JP Ranch Development (approximately 750 total homes), Calimesa Springs Development (approximately 270 homes), Summerwind Ranch at Oak Valley (3,841 homes, 260 acres of mixed-use commercial), and Mesa Verde (3,500 homes, and 64 acres of mixed-use commercial space). The amount of approved units currently outnumbers the total population within the city. However, development of these large tracts have been slow to move forward until the demand increases.