Malpais Mesa Wilderness


Ridgecrest Field Office 300 S. Richmond Rd. Ridgecrest, CA 93555

36.418478, -117.742401

Malpais Mesa Wilderness

Malpais Mesa Wilderness

The long, north-south oval of Malpais Mesa (2,300 feet) stands dominant in the middle of this Wilderness area perched at the southern end of the Inyo Mountains. Rugged valleys, deep canyons, sheer mountainsides, and smaller mesas can all be found within close proximity. From Death Valley National Park in the east, the bajada rises gradually to the mesa's summit; the terrain drops away much more steeply in the west. Vegetation takes numerous forms: creosote, low desert shrubs, and grasses in the lower elevations; Joshua trees at middle elevations on the eastern side; piñon pines and junipers higher up. Mule deer abound, and golden eagles nest and forage in the area. The remains of the old Santa Rosa Mines lie at the end of a dirt track, part of a non-Wilderness corridor near the foot of the mesa. This is a desolate piece of earth—in Spanish, malpais means "bad country."

For more information about this wilderness, please visit Wilderness Connect.

Leave No Trace

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). For more information on any of the principles listed below, please visit Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website..

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare
  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  • Dispose of Waste Properly
  • Leave What You Find
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts
  • Respect Wildlife
  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Rules and Regulations

Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport are generally prohibited on all federal lands designated as wilderness. This includes the use of motor vehicles (including OHVs), motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters, unless provided for in specific legislation. In a few areas some exceptions allowing the use of motorized equipment or mechanical transport are described in the special regulations in effect for a specific area. Contact the agency for more information about regulations.

Malpais Mesa Wilderness

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