Immediately to the east of Mecca Hills Wilderness, you'll find Orocopia Mountains Wilderness, where the unpredictable forces of nature--primarily the San Andreas Fault--have created a striking landscape of open desert valleys, ridges, and dramatically colored and eroded canyons. The canyons and washes are deep and often extremely long, with exposed walls shaded from bright red to dark black. Despite the harshness of the climate, you should see a wide variety of plants and animals adapted to life in the desert. Bighorn sheep and burro deer live in the mountains, and desert tortoises crawl below. In washes and along stony slopes, you may encounter the spiny-leaved Orocopia sage, Alverson's foxtail cactus, Orcutt's woody aster, and the Mecca aster.
Keep an eye open for evidence of this area's long history--there's everything from the fossilized remains of prehistoric animals resembling horses, camels, and deer to traces of trade routes used by Indians in the not-too-distant past.
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 Orocopia 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.
Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 - Public law 111-11 (3/30/2009) An act to designate certain land as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, and for other purposes.