Some of the most expansive views in the entire California Desert--vistas often extending for more than 100 miles--exist in Carrizo Gorge Wilderness. From overlooks, you can see the Chocolate Mountains, the Salton Sea to the northeast, Mount Signal on the Mexican border, and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which shares the Wilderness' eastern border. The eastern boundary actually runs near the western edge of Carrizo Gorge itself, where the In-Ko-Pah Mountains rise up from the desert. This Wilderness represents the only ecological transition zone in the NWPS between the low Colorado Desert and the dry California coastal mountains. Peninsular bighorn sheep find this remote, rugged region to their liking, and three herds call the area home. The San Diego coast horned lizard also lives here, eyeing the skies warily for Swainson's hawks, golden eagles, and other birds of prey. California fan palms line the edges of dry washes and narrow canyons, creating oases in the parched terrain.
You will not find much in the way of trails from the west side, though several springs might provide water. From the east side, via Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, you can access Carrizo Gorge on a jeep trail, and the Wilderness on foot.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Carrizo Gorge Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
California Desert Protection Act of 1994 - Public Law 103-433 (10/31/1994) "California Desert Protection Act of 1994" An Act to designate certain lands in the California Desert as wilderness, to establish the Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks, to establish the Mojave National Preserve, and for other purposes.