Size: 199,599 acres.
Location: San Bernardino County; 50 miles northeast of Baker, California (Note: Boundary setbacks from roads or trails are 30 to 300 feet)
Kingston Range Wilderness is approximately 15 miles northeast of Baker, California. Except for its northernmost tip (Inyo County), this wilderness is in northern San Bernardino County, California. It is located 8 miles north of I-15 and 9 miles east of Highway 127. Maps of the area can be obtained from the Bureau of Land Management Field Offices in Needles and Barstow, California.
Area Description : The 210,875-acre (approximate) Kingston Range Wilderness is divided into three units by non-wilderness corridors or ‘cherrystems’: Sperry Wash and Kingston Wash. The Amargosa Unit’s (the northern unit) most striking feature is Amargosa Canyon, which contains a perennial stream. This perennial surface flow supports wetland habitats offering food, cover, and nesting opportunities for a wide variety of bird life. Those habitats also sustain fish, mammals, insects, and mollusks having low population numbers and/or very limited distributions. The Kingston Unit (center unit) covers seventeen miles of continuous ridgeline above 6,000 feet known as the Kingston Range. Elevations reach 7,323 at the top of Kingston Peak. The Shadow Mountain Unit (southern unit) covers much of the Shadow Mountains, a large series of low-lying rounded peaks with gently meandering interior canyons and numerous erosion channels. The wilderness is botanically one of the most diverse areas within the California Desert. Botanists have identified 505 native plant species and 32 are viewed as endangered, rare, or limited in distribution. Cresote bush scrub vegetation is found at lower elevations and juniper-pinyon woodland at higher elevations. The only stand of giant Nolina in the eastern Mojave Desert is found in Kingston Range, and a relic stand of white fir trees clings (one of only three stands found in the California Desert) to the slopes of two drainages just below Kingston Peak. Also located in the wilderness is a portion of the Shadow Valley-Cima Dome Joshua tree forest (one of the densest concentrations in the world). The vegetation and perennial water support a variety of wildlife species which do not occur in nearby drier habitats. Bird densities are many times higher and contain higher species diversity. The Kingston Mountains are one of the four localities in California in which confirmed sightings of the banded gila monster have been made. Other wildlife species include bighorn sheep, wild burros, coyote, black-tailed jackrabbits, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, roadrunners, quail, rattlesnakes, tarantulas, and several species of lizards. The southeastern portion of the wilderness provides critical habitat for the threatened desert tortoise. The wilderness area is an ecological transition zone between the Great Basin and Mojave Desert with numerous species of flora and fauna reaching their northern and southern most distribution limits.
Getting There : Access the wilderness from State Highway 127; the Old Spanish Trail Highway; or the eastern boundary from the Excelsior Mine Road via Cima Road off Interstate 15 (26 miles east of Baker).
Nonfederal Lands: Private lands may lie within the wilderness area. Please respect the landowner and do not use these lands without permission.
Additional Information :
Permits are required for commercial or organized activities.
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:
- Mesquite Lake
- Owlshead Mountains
- USGS 7.5 Quadrangle Maps:
- Blackwater Mine
- Dumont Dunes
- East Of Kingston Peak
- East of Springs
- Ibex Pass, Kingston Peak
- Kingston Spring, Mesquite Lake
- Mesquite Mountains
- Pachalka Spring
- Silurian Hills
- Silurian Lake
- Turquoise Mountain
- Tecopa Pass
- Valjean Hills