The large east-west oriented Whipple Mountains comprise the dominant land form within this Wilderness. A low angle fault separates the pale green formations of the western side from the striking brick-red, steeply carved volcanics of the eastern side. Whipple Peak is the highest point in the range at an elevation of 4,131 ft. Landforms are diverse and range from valley floors and washes to steep-walled canyons, domed peaks, natural bridges, and eroded spires. Two major vegetative associations are present within the Wilderness area, the Sonora creosote bush scrub and Sonoran thorn forest. Dominant vegetation is creosote bush scrub, palo verde, ironwood, smoke tree, and numerous species of cacti including cholla, saguaro, foxtail, and prickly pear. Wildlife species include bighorn sheep, mule deer, wild burros, coyote, black-tailed jackrabbits, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, quail, roadrunners, owls, the threatened desert tortoise, and several species of rattlesnakes and lizards. The Whipple Mountains provide superior nesting and foraging habitat for a number of raptors; including prairie falcons, golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, and Cooper's hawks.
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 Whipple Mountains Wilderness.
Whipple Mountains Wilderness is located in San Bernardino County, California approximately 50 miles southeast of Needles, California. The southern boundary of the area is approximately 4 miles north of California Highway 62. Maps of the area can be obtained from the Bureau of Land Management Field Offices in Needles, California or Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
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 can be enjoyed in this wilderness. Whipple Wash is a popular hiking location.
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.