Sand dunes dominate the landscape in the North Algodones Dunes Wilderness Area.
Iron Mountain Chapel Eagle Desert Spring Desert Tortoise Amboy Crater
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 Clipper Mountain Wilderness

A rare sight, snow on the Clipper Mountains 
Legal Description
7.5 Topo Map 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
 Photo Gallery



Size: 33,843 acres. Clipper Mountain

Location: San Bernardino County; 50 miles west of Needles, California (Note: Boundary set backs from roads or trails are 30 to 300 feet)

Area Description :

The Clipper Mountain Wilderness encompasses 35,731 acres (approximate) of rugged yellow and dark brown, horizontally striped mesas; narrow canyons with hidden springs; and sparsely vegetated alluvial fans.  The small cluster of volcanic mountains is oriented northeast to southwest.  In the center, the most prominent ridge, Clipper Mountain, reaches an elevation of 4,625 feet before it dramatically drops off in series of sharp cliffs overlooking the Clipper and Fenner Valleys.  Castle Dome, a local landmark, can be clearly seen from Historic Route 66 to the south and east.  The vegetation types are predominantly creosote bush desert scrub and desert wash scrub.  In the spring, the alluvial fans turn yellow with brittlebush and other wildflowers.  Wildlife is typical for the Mojave Desert; including a herd of 40-50 bighorn sheep, coyote, black-tailed jackrabbits, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, roadrunners, chucker, quail, prairie falcons, red-tailed hawks, golden eagles, rattlesnakes, and several species of lizards.  The entire wilderness is considered critical habitat for the threatened desert tortoise.

Getting There : This wilderness is approximately 28 miles east of Ludlow, California and South of Interstate 40. Access the southern boundary from Route 66, east from the Ludlow to Danby Road. Go north 2.3 miles on this dirt road to the intersection of the Southern California Gas Pipeline, which forms the southern boundary of the wilderness. A high clearance vehicle is recommended. Parking is not permitted along the pipeline road right of way, therefore, you must be dropped off and picked up.

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

Additional Information :

Area Management

Permits are required for commercial or organized activities.

Recreational Opportunities

Hiking, horseback riding, hunting, camping, rock hounding, photography, and backpacking are examples of activities that can be enjoyed in this wilderness. 

Climate and Special Equipment Needs

Temperatures are fairly mild in the early spring, late fall, and winter; generally 30-80?F.  Summer temperatures are extremely hot.  Temperatures are commonly over 115?F and can get well over 120?F.  Always carry water; desert springs are not reliable water sources.

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.


  • Desert Access Guide:
    • Amboy
  • USGS 7.5 Quadrangle Maps:
    • Blind Hills
    • Cadiz Summit
    • Castle Dome
    • Van Winkle Wash
    • West of Blind Hills


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