Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness is a place of breathtaking panoramas and natural history. This Wilderness is characterized by gentle slopes and an impressive expanse of old-growth Joshua trees. In Paiute language, Wee Thump means "ancient ones." On average, Joshua trees grow only a half-inch per year. Many of the trees in this wilderness are more than 30 feet tall and could be more than 900 years old, making them some of the oldest and largest Joshua trees in the world.
Silence is common throughout these gentle slopes. Infrequent visitor use and the ability to lose oneself in the maze of Joshua trees result in outstanding opportunities for solitude. Although the Wilderness is bordered by dirt roads and a highway, the majority of the area is characterized by long periods of natural quiet.
This is a great place to get out of the car and stretch your legs among the "ancient ones" on the Joshua Tree Trail. Grab your binoculars to take in the sights and sounds of what may possibly be one of southern Nevada's best birding spots.
Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness lies on the gently sloping bajada, and is southeast of the nearby South McCullough Wilderness. The gently sloping alluvia deposits are comprised of un-sorted sand, gravel and cobbles. The soils is composed of the broken-down metamorphic rock of the McCullough Range.
The landscape ranges from 4,000 to 5,000 feet in elevation and displays a thriving forest of Joshua trees. Other plants that can be found in this area include blackbrush, Mojave yucca, buckhorn cholla, creosote bush, white bursage, banana yucca, bunch grass, matted cholla, and prickly pear cactus.
Gilded flicker (known to occur only at this location in Nevada), northern flicker, ladder-backed woodpecker, black-throated woodpecker, black-throated sparrow, red-tailed hawk, crissal thrasher, golden eagle, loggerhead shrike, cactus wren, desert tortoise, desert bighorn sheep, coyote, desert cottontail, black-tailed jackrabbit, valley pocket gopher and desert woodrats can be glimpsed in this Wilderness.
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 Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness.
The Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness is located between Searchlight, Nevada and Nipton, California. The wilderness sits just north of State Highway 164, which provides access to the southern border of the wilderness, and is flanked to the west by the South McCullough Range and to the east by the Highland Range.
Wee Thump East Road leads north from State Highway 164, providing access to the eastern border of the wilderness. Five miles west of Wee Thump East Road down State Highway 164, Wee Thump West Road leads north, providing access to the western border of the 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.
Clark County Conservation of Public Land and Natural Resources Act of 2002 - Public law 107-282 (11/6/2002) To establish wilderness areas, promote conservation, improve public land, and provide for high quality development in Clark County, Nevada, and for other purposes
With few visitors making their way into this wilderness, opportunities for solitude abound. This impressive stand of Joshua trees makes for fascinating bird watching, and the gentle slope of the land allows for relaxed hiking. The 3-mile Joshua Tree Trail follows and old wagon road previous used by mining operations in the surrounding areas. To access this trailhead, turn north onto Wee Thump East Road from State Route 164.
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.