When you think of California, your first image may be high-rise buildings, busy cities, elevated freeways, stretches of suburban houses.  In reality, there are large swaths of areas that are still primitive, natural and roadless.  The Bureau of Land Management in California administers 87 of these wild areas, 3, 845,316 acres, designated by Congress as Wilderness.

California’s wilderness “niche” is in desert habitats with landscapes on both the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts. Though often looking lifeless, these desert environments are alive with life, including the endangered Desert tortoise, the Fringe-toed lizards, and the majestic Joshua Trees.  

BLM-California wilderness areas vary in elevation from sea level to over 11,000 feet.  Marine life abounds at sea level in the rocks and islands that team with tide pools to support a variety of sea birds, marine animals, and a diverse intertidal life. The highest peaks in California’s wilderness provide a different prospective with grand vistas and high country vegetation where gazing desert bighorn sheep traverse steep rocky slopes.

Wilderness areas are places of solitude where people can experience freedom from our fast-paced industrialized society. They are places where people can renew the human spirit through association with the natural world.  For all its uses, values, and scenic wonders, wilderness is a land heritage that is uniquely American.

Featured Wilderness Area: Cadiz Dunes Wilderness

At dusk, stars begin to appear in the sky above sand dunes in the Cadiz Dunes Wilderness. Photo by Bob Wick.


BLM California Wilderness

A complete list of BLM California wilderness is below: