Ridges extend like fingers from the Laguna Mountains east to become Sawtooth Mountains Wilderness, with elevations from 5,600 feet down to 1,400 feet. Valleys between the ridges unfold to become the desert alluvial fans of Vallecito Valley, Inner Pasture, and Canebrake Canyon. Vegetation transforms from dense chaparral at the higher elevations of the Lagunas to low desert creosote brush. More than 200 plant species have been identified here, many of them under consideration for threatened or endangered status. Although peninsular bighorn sheep once lived here, they are now transient visitors. You may see San Diego horned lizards, spotted bats, and willow flycatchers. Golden eagles, prairie falcons, Cooper's hawks, and other raptors spread their wings overhead.
State Route 2 runs near the northern boundary, but private land prevents legal access from that direction. The Pepperwood Height Trail from the south provides five miles of relatively easy foot or horse access. Springs may supply water.
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 Sawtooth 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.