Sand dunes dominate the landscape in the North Algodones Dunes Wilderness Area.
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Dead Mountains Wilderness

A deep wash on the north side of the Dead Mountains.  BLM Photo 
Legal Description
7.5 Topo Map 1, 2, 3, 4
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47,158 acres Dead Mountain

Location: San Bernardino County; 12 miles northwest of Needles, California (Note: Boundary set backs from roads or trails are 30 to 300 feet)

Area Description : This 54,410-acre (approximate) wilderness area encompasses the jagged, steep, rust-colored Dead Mountains and the alluvial fans sweeping to the west towards Piute Valley and east towards the Colorado River.  Centered in the northern half of the wilderness is its highest point, Mount Manchester at an elevation of 3,598 feet.  A major wash transects the wilderness and Piute Wash borders the wilderness on the west.  Vegetation is predominantly creosote bush desert scrub and desert wash scrub. The northern most occurrence of smoketrees in the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) is found within the area?s washes.  Wildlife is typical for the Mojave Desert; including a small herd of 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 eastern and northeastern portions of the wilderness provide critical habitat for the threatened desert tortoise

Getting There : A popular access to the Dead Mountains is to hike south from the segment of the Mojave Road that parallels the Nevada State line, which also forms the northern boundary of the wilderness. To locate the Mojave Road, go approximately 16 miles north from Needles, California on River Road (PEW Road on 7.5 maps). Turn west at the rock carin and travel up 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 :

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.  Many popular hiking routes can be located although no maintained or marked trails are located in this wilderness area.

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:
    • Needles
    • Davis Dam
  • USGS 7.5 Quadrangle Maps:
    • Bannock
    • East of Homer Mountain
    • Mount Manchester
    • Needles North West



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
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