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Needles Field Office

Bigelow Cholla Garden Wilderness

Bigelow Cholla Garden shows succulent trees surrounded by mountains.
Bigelow Cholla Garden Wilderness

Location:  In San Bernardino County, California approximately 18 miles west of Needles, California. Interstate 40 runs along the northern boundary of the wilderness. Maps of the area can be obtained from the Bureau of Land Management Field Office in Needles, California. (Note: Boundary set backs from roads or trails are 30 to 300 feet) Bigelow Cholla Garden location

Area Description: 14,645 acres. Bigelow Cholla Garden Wilderness lies in the northern end of the Sacramento Mountains. The mountains consist of very dark, highly eroded volcanic rock. Elevations range from 1,400 feet to 3,314 feet atop Bannock Peak. The vegetation types are predominantly creosote bush desert scrub and desert wash scrub. The densest concentration of Bigelow Cholla cactus in the California Desert is found within the wilderness and the surrounding area. Wildlife is typical for the Mojave Desert; including coyote, black-tailed jackrabbits, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, quail, roadrunners, rattlesnakes, and several species of lizards. The area provides habitat for migrating desert bighorn sheep, and the western half of the wilderness area provides critical habitat for the threatened desert tortoise.

Getting There:  Interstate 40 forms the northern boundary of the wilderness. Exit U.S. Highway 95 from 1-40 and follow the dirt road south for about 200 feet. Turn right 180 degrees to access the Four Comers's Pipeline and travel west. The southern boundary, delineated by this road, begins in 3 miles. There are no established trailheads, and high clearance vehicles are recommended.

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.

Bigelow Cholla Garden Wilderness


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Bureau of Land Management
Needles Field Office
1303 S Highway 95
Needles, CA 92363
Phone: (760) 326-7000
Fax: (760) 326-7099
Office Hours: 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., M-F
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