The long, north-south oval of Malpais Mesa (2,300 feet) stands dominant in the middle of this Wilderness area perched at the southern end of the Inyo Mountains. Rugged valleys, deep canyons, sheer mountainsides, and smaller mesas can all be found within close proximity. From Death Valley National Park in the east, the bajada rises gradually to the mesa's summit; the terrain drops away much more steeply in the west. Vegetation takes numerous forms: creosote, low desert shrubs, and grasses in the lower elevations; Joshua trees at middle elevations on the eastern side; piñon pines and junipers higher up. Mule deer abound, and golden eagles nest and forage in the area. The remains of the old Santa Rosa Mines lie at the end of a dirt track, part of a non-Wilderness corridor near the foot of the mesa. This is a desolate piece of earth—in Spanish, malpais means "bad country."
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 Malpais Mesa 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.