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Carrizo Gorge Wilderness

Top view from Carrizo Gorge Mountains.
Carrizo Gorge Wilderness

Location: San Diego County; 60 miles east of San Diego, California (Note: Boundary set backs from roads or trails are 30 to 300 feet) 

Carrizo Gorge locationArea Description: 14,740 acres. The Carrizo Gorge Wilderness offers some of the most expansive scenic vistas in the California Desert. Views stretching 100 miles or more are common. The panorama includes the Salton Sea, Chocolate Mountains, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Mount Signal on the Mexico border. This wilderness is the only ecological transition zone between the Colorado Desert and the peninsular mountain ranges represented in the National Wilderness Preserve System. Three peninsular bighorn sheep herds call the area home, and the San Diego coast horned lizard, Swainson's hawk, golden eagle and other birds of prey have all been spotted here. California fan palms line the edges of dry washes and narrow canyons, creating desert oases.

Getting There: Access this wilderness by taking the Boulevard/Manzanita exit from Interstate 8. Follow State Route 94 east to the McCain Valley Road. Driving north, the wilderness is located along the east side of the McCain Valley Road.

Nonfederal Lands: Private lands may lie within the wilderness area. Please respect the owner and do not use these lands without permission.

Additional Information: Signs indicating "Wilderness" and "Closed Road" or "Closed Route" are placed at various intervals. Vehicles can be parked outside the wilderness boundary; however, the boundary is set back 30 feet from unmaintained dirt roads and 300 feet on paved roads.

Mechanized or motorized vehicles are NOT PERMITTED in a wilderness

Hunting, fishing, and non-commercial trapping are allowed under state and local laws.

Pet are allowed, but please keep your pets under control at all times.

Horses are permitted, however you may be required to carry feed.

Removal, disturbance, or attempting to remove archaelogical materials is a felony. Selling, receiving, purchasing, transporting, exchanging or offering to do so is prohibited by law.

CAMPING: Camping is permitted, limited to 14 days. After 14 days, campers must relocate at least 25 miles from previous site.

Help BLM preserve California's fragile deserts. Please park your vehicle or set up camp in previously disturbed sites.

Gathering wood for campfires, when permitted, is limited to dead and down materials. Do not cut live vegetation.

The BLM encourages all desert recreationists and travelers exploring public lands, not only within southern California but through the west, to use propylene glycol based antifreeze/coolant in their touring and recreation vehicles. Proven safer, it will have minimal impacts on the wildlife and the environment should a leak occur.

Carrizo Gorge Wilderness


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Bureau of Land Management
El Centro Field Office
1661 S. 4th Street
El Centro CA 92243
Phone: (760) 337-4400
Fax: (760) 337-4490
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., M-F
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