The El Paso Mountains drop into this Wilderness from the southeast, with Black Mountain, at 5,244 feet, serving as the highest point. From the foot of Black Mountain, the terrain sinks into the Black Hills and gives rise to numerous dark volcanic mesas and reddish buttes dissected by narrow canyons--in short, badlands topography. Most human visitors are attracted to an abundance of cultural sites, and the southern portion of the area is included in the Last Chance Archaeological District. Some of the oldest nonmarine fossils ever found in the West were discovered here: ancient camel-like and horse-like animals. Rock hounds also find much to their interest, interrupting their hunt to peer at the occasional desert tortoise, Mojave ground squirrel, or raptor wandering by. Creosote bushes, the most ubiquitous desert plant in the United States, reign supreme over much of the region, while Joshua trees cling to the western side of Black Mountain.
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 El Paso Mountains 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.