El Centro Field Office

Fish Creek Mountains Wilderness

Location: Imperial County; 50 miles east of Brawley, California (Note: Boundary set backs from roads or trails are 30 to 300 feet)

Fish Creek Mountains locationArea Description: 21,390 acres. The Fish Creek Mountains resemble a plateau rising as a great wall above the desert basin. From a distance, few dramatic peaks are visible. However, on closer examination, a rugged land of jagged ridges and peaks appears above twisting canyons and small valleys, creating a pristine natural environment. The steep mountain slopes contain limestone outcrops that have resisted erosion. As a result, water from cloudbursts has created narrow chutes swirling with water. Shielded from the sun's evaporating rays, water at the base of these chutes remains year-round serving wildlife as natural tanks. A portion of the ancient Lake Cahuilla shoreline is visible within this wilderness. The lake was a great body of freshwater once covering the Imperial and Coachella Valleys, receding 500 years ago.

Getting There: Access this wilderness from California State Highway 78. Approximately 3 miles from the San Diego/Imperial County line, take the Split Mountain Road south to where it intersects with the Gypsum Mine Rail Road and follow it south. The wilderness lies along the west side of the railroad and across the wash.

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.

Fish Creek Mountains Wilderness


Legal Description


Leave no trace, center for outdoor ethics.

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Contact Us

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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