El Centro Field Office

Little Picacho Wilderness

A rocky mountain.
Little Picacho Wilderness

Location:  Imperial County; 55 miles east of El Centro, California (Note: Boundary set backs from roads or trails are 30 to 300 feet)

Little Picacho locationArea Description: 38,216 acres. The Little Picacho Peak Wilderness has within its boundaries the southern portion of the Chocolate Mountains. Elevations within this area range from 200 to 1,500 feet. The topography, characterized by jutting spires and steep ridges, is quite dramatic. Ravines laced within the range gradually broaden into sandy, tree-lined washes. Slopes and plains are devoid of vegetation, instead covered with a desert pavement of angular cobbles. These rusty dark orange and brown colored cobbles stand out against the nearly white bottoms of the washes. A herd of 25 desert bighorn sheep enjoy the terrain, and the Picacho wild horse herd ranges over some 5,000 acres in the northwest corner of the wilderness. Wild burros can also be found roaming through the area. These animals share their home with the desert tortoise and the spotted bat.

Getting There: This wilderness can be accessed from two routes. From the east, exit Interstate 8 at the 4th Ave/Winterhaven off ramp. Go left on 4th Ave to State Route S-24 (approximately 1/8 mile). Follow S-24 to Imperial Dam (18 miles) and turn left at the Imperial Dam sign onto Ferguson Wash Road. The wilderness is along the west side of the road. From the west, travel on S-24 until it becomes a dirt road and intersects with the All-American Canal. Turn right and go 1/4 mile to Picacho Road (County A481). Turn left across the canal and go toward the Picacho State Recreation Area. The wilderness will be on the east side of the 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.

Little Picacho 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
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