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  Whipple Mountains Wilderness

A lone saguaro grows alone a wash deep in the Whipple Mountains Wilderness.  The Whipple Mountains are one of only three locations where Saguaro Cactus occur naturaly in California 
Legal Description
7.5 Topo Map 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
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Size: 76,123 acresWhipple Mountains

Location: Whipple Mountains Wilderness is located in San Bernardino County, California approximately 50 miles southeast of Needles, California.  The southern boundary of the area is approximately 4 miles north of California Highway 62.  Maps of the area can be obtained from the Bureau of Land Management Field Offices in Needles, California or Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

(Note: Boundary set backs from roads or trails are 30 to 300 feet)

Area Description : The large east-west oriented Whipple Mountains comprise the dominant land form within this 79,861-acre (approximate) wilderness.  A low angle fault separates the pale green formations of the western side from the striking brick-red, steeply carved volcanics of the eastern side.  Whipple Peak is the highest point in the range at an elevation of 4,131 ft.  Landforms are diverse and range from valley floors and washes to steep-walled canyons, domed peaks, natural bridges, and eroded spires.  Two major vegetative associations are present within the wilderness area, the Sonora creosote bush scrub and Sonoran thorn forest.  Dominant vegetation is creosote bush scrub, palo verde, ironwood, smoke tree, and numerous species of cacti including cholla, saguaro, foxtail, and prickly pear.  Wildlife species include bighorn sheep, mule deer, wild burros, coyote, black-tailed jackrabbits, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, quail, roadrunners, owls, the threatened desert tortoise, and several species of rattlesnakes and lizards.  The Whipple Mountains provide superior nesting and foraging habitat for a number of raptors; including prairie falcons, golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, and Cooper’s hawks.

Getting There : Access to the eastern boundary of the wilderness is by four-wheel drive vehicle on a powerline road. Start at Parker Dam on the Colorado River and go south on the California side to Black Meadow Landing Road (less than a mile). Take this paved road 6 miles to the dirt road that leads to Havasu Palms. Follow this route for 2.1 miles to the powerline road, which for the next 8 miles, forms the eastern boundary of the wilderness.

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 can be enjoyed in this wilderness.  Whipple Wash is a popular hiking location.

 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:
    • Parker
  • USGS 7.5 Quadrangle Maps:
    • Gene Wash
    • Havasu Lake
    • Lake Havasu City South
    • Parker
    • Parker North West
    • Savahia Peak
    • Whipple Mountain South West
    • Whipple Wash.


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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