The Sheephole Valley Wilderness is a perfect representation of the basin and range topography typical in the Mojave Desert. The area consists of the northwest to southeast trending granitic boulder strewn Sheep Hole and Calumet Mountains. The Sheep Hole Mountains, the larger and steeper range, rises to an elevation of 4,613 feet, while the Calumets rise to 3,732 feet above sea level. Sheep Hole Valley nests between the two ranges. At the valley's lowest point, around 1,832 feet above sea level, there are two small dry lake beds. Sand dune formations can be found at the southwest end of the Sheep Hole range and northeastern portion of the Calumets. Dominant vegetation is typical of much of the Mojave Desert, consisting of creosote bush scrub that gradually changes into a mixed desert scrub at higher elevations. Around the dry lake beds, salt-tolerant plants such as pickleweed, inkweek, and saltbush are found. Borrego milkvetch occurs in the sand dunes and is listed by the California Native Plant Society as rare and endangered in California. Wildlife is typical for the Mojave Desert; including bighorn sheep, the threatened desert tortoise, coyote, black-tailed jackrabbits, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, quail, roadrunners, rattlesnakes, and several species of lizards.
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 Sheephole Valley Wilderness.
Sheephole Valley Wilderness is located in San Bernardino County, California approximately 25 miles east of Twenty-Nine Palms, CA. The southern boundary runs along California Highway 62. 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.
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.