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

North Mesquite Mountains 
Legal Description
7.5 Topo Map 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
 Photo Gallery



Size: 28,955 acres. North Mesquite

Location: San Bernardino County; 60 miles northeast of Baker, California (Note: Boundary set backs from roads or trails are 30 to 300 feet)

Area Description : The 30,012-acre (approximate) North Mesquite Mountains Wilderness consists of the broad western end of Sandy Valley and the northern portion of Mesquite Mountains.  Rolling brown foothills, a few steeper mountains, and medium sized buttes comprise the reddish-brown geologic features in the wilderness.  Vegetation of this area is characteristic of the mid-elevations of the eastern Mojave Desert.  Dominant vegetation includes creosote brush scrub, blackbush, Joshua tree woodland, yucca, cacti, and some grasses.  Wildlife is also typical for the Mojave Desert; including coyote, black-tailed jackrabbits, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, quail, roadrunners, rattlesnakes and several species of lizards.  Due to the lack of natural waters, bighorn sheep do not inhabit the area on a permanent basis but do transverse the area.  The southern tip of the wilderness provides critical habitat for the desert tortoise.

Getting There : To access the southernmost point of the wilderness, take the Cima Road exit off Interstate 15 (26 miles east of Baker), and travel north approximately 8 miles on the paved Excelsior Mine Road until it intersects with the graveled Kingston Road. The wilderness lies between these two roads.

Nonfederal Lands: Private lands may lie within the wilderness area. Please respect the landowner 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.  The wilderness boundary was drawn to exclude seven non-wilderness corridors or ‘cherrystems’, which provide vehicle access to the interior of the 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:
    • Mesquite Lake  
  • USGS 7.5 Quadrangle Maps:
    • Blackwater Mine
    • East of Kingston Spring
    • East of Kingston Peak
    • Mesquite Mountains
    • Pachalka Spring
    • Shenandoah Peak
    • West of Shenandoah Peak


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