The North Mesquite Mountains Wilderness consists of the broad western end of Sandy Valley and the northern portion of Mesquite Mountains. Rolling brown foothills, a few steeper mountains, and medium sized buttes comprise the reddish-brown geologic features in the Wilderness. Vegetation of this area is characteristic of the mid-elevations of the eastern Mojave Desert. Dominant vegetation includes creosote brush scrub, blackbush, Joshua tree woodland, yucca, cacti, and some grasses. Wildlife is also typical for the Mojave Desert; including coyote, black-tailed jackrabbits, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, quail, roadrunners, rattlesnakes and several species of lizards. Due to the lack of natural waters, bighorn sheep do not inhabit the area on a permanent basis but do transverse the area. The southern tip of the wilderness provides critical habitat for the desert tortoise.
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 North Mesquite Mountains Wilderness.
North Mesquite Mountains Wilderness is located in San Bernardino County, California approximately 30 miles northeast of Baker, California and 20 miles west of Primm, Nevada. The southern tip of the wilderness is approximately 13 miles north of I-15. Maps of the area can be obtained from the Bureau of Land Management Field Office in Needles, California.
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.
Hiking, horseback riding, hunting, camping, rock hounding, photography, and backpacking are examples of activities that can be enjoyed in this wilderness. The wilderness boundary was drawn to exclude seven non-wilderness corridors or 'cherrystems', which provide vehicle access to the interior of the wilderness area.
Climate and Special Equipment Needs
Temperatures are fairly mild in the early spring, late fall, and winter; generally 30-80 F. Summer temperatures are extremely hot. Temperatures are commonly over 115 F and can get well over 120 F. Always carry water; desert springs are not reliable water sources.
Want to Volunteer for Wilderness?
Citizens who volunteer their time to steward our wilderness areas are an essential part of wilderness management. Contact the following groups to inquire about volunteer opportunities.