Size: 41,777 acres.
Location: Riverside County; 26 miles northwest of Blythe, California (Note: Boundary set backs from roads or trails are 30 to 300 feet)
Area Description: The broad, flat plains of Rice Valley and the northwestern tip of the steep and rugged Big Maria Mountains lie within the borders of this wilderness. A system of small dunes rising 30 to 40 feet above the surface form a long, narrow band running through the middle of the valley floor. The valley is part of a massive sand sheet which extends from Cadiz Valley through Ward Valley, representing a part of one of the largest dune systems in the California Desert. The Big Maria Mountains rise above the valley to an elevation of 2,000 feet.
Getting There: State Highway 62 provides access to the wilderness from the north and Interstate 10 via the Midland Road, from the south. The wilderness boundaries are accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles only.
Nonfederal Lands: Private lands may lie within the wilderness area. Please respect the landowner and do not use these lands without permission.
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.
Pets 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 archaeological 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:
- USGS 7.5 Quadrangle Maps:
- Big Maria Mountains North West
Go to BLM Wilderness List