California's southernmost Wilderness on National Forest System lands consists of mountainous terrain with steep slopes dotted by granite boulders and rocky outcroppings. Chaparral and coastal sage rule the vegetation, yielding only to upstart woodlands in Salazar and Boneyard Canyons. Elevations range from 1,600 feet near Barrett Lake to 3,681 feet on a summit southwest of Bronco Flats. Wildlife includes mule deer, owls, golden eagles, San Diego coast horned lizards, and mountain lions, not to mention more than 135 species of birds. Rattlesnakes are often seen basking in the sun, and mosquitoes, ticks, and deerflies are annoyances in the warmer months. You should not expect to find water in the interior except during periods of seasonal runoff. The Pacific Crest Trail cuts for less than one mile across the extreme southeast corner of the Wilderness, and the Hauser Creek Trail follows Hauser Canyon for four miles just outside of the southern boundary. No other trails exist. Groups are limited to 15 people. Campfires are not permitted. Non-conforming uses (e.g. drug trafficking, nonsystem trails, litter and undocumented immigration) have negatively impacted wilderness character in this area in the past, though these activities have slowed in recent years. Please call the District Office (619-445-6235) for current conditions and remote camping information.
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 Hauser 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.