Sand dunes dominate the landscape in the North Algodones Dunes Wilderness Area.
Off-Highway Vehicle Algodones Dunes Sunflower Hiker
BLM>California>El Centro>Recreation>Wilderness>Jacumba Wilderness Area
Print Page
El Centro Field Office

Jacumba Wilderness

A view of the Jacumba Mountains Wilderness from the Elliot Mine area.
Jacumba Wilderness

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

Jacumba Mountains Wilderness locationArea Description: 31,358 acres. The Jacumba Mountains sit on the eastern flank of southern California's coastal peninsular ranges, extending to the international border. The Jacumba's are a broad range, made up of ridges and intervening valleys. Each successive ridge is lower than the next, creating a great staircase descending dramatically from the peninsular ranges into the Colorado Desert. Four transitional areas separate this wilderness, each containing a different set of special features. The westernmost portion, Smugglers Cave, provides habitat for mule deer, Peninsular bighorn sheep, golden eagles and the Mexican Trinidad Merriam kangaroo rat. Small oases of native California fan palms dot the Myer Valley/Pinto Canyon region. Rugged mountains split Myer Valley from Davies Valley, the largest valley in the wilderness area. Large areas of "desert pavement," or deposits of surface cobbles, cover the surface. The Eastern Mountains/ Skull Valley is a closed basin with a dry lake bed on its floor.

Getting There: To access this wilderness, exit Interstate 8 at IN-KO-PAH Park and follow Smugglers Cave Road, which winds steeply up the hillside. South of the freeway interchange, four-wheel drive is recommended. The Davies Valley area is also accessible via Interstate 8. Drive south from Ocotillo on State Route S-2 to U.S. Highway 98. Turn east on Highway 98 and drive 0.7 miles south to a BLM sign marking the dirt access road and follow the road to the wilderness boundary.

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.

Jacumba Wilderness


Legal Description


Leave no trace, center for outdoor ethics.

Know Before You Go 

Wilderness List

National Conservation Lands

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
Contact us by Email