Otay Mountain Wilderness

The Otay Mountain Wilderness has a total of 16,885 acres and is managed by the BLM's Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office. In 1999 the Otay Mountain Wilderness became part of the now over 109 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. In wilderness, you can enjoy challenging recreational activities and extraordinary opportunities for solitude.
The Otay Mountain Wilderness is located near the U.S.-Mexico border in eastern San Diego County. The mountain represents a unique ecosystem, home to twenty sensitive plant and animal species, including the endangered quino checkerspot butterfly, the only known stand of Tecate cypress, as well as the only known population of the Mexican flannel bush In an age of "...increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization,..." you play an important role in helping to "...secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness" as called for by Congress in the Wilderness Act of 1964. Please follow the regulations in place for this area, and use Leave No Trace techniques when visiting to ensure protection of its unique natural and experiential qualities.

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply.

Leave No Trace principles:

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

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), motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters, unless provided for in specific legislation.

Adventure is at Your Fingertips


Nonfederal Lands: Private lands may lie within the wilderness area. Please respect the owner and do not use these lands without permission.

Additional Information: 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 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.


Geographic Coordinates

32.59489, -116.838554


Located 5.4 miles NW of Dulzura on State Highway 94 (Otay Lakes Road). Access is on Otay Truck Trail which traverses the mountain east to west, and the Minnewawa Trail, connecting Otay Lakes Road on the north with the Otay Truck Trail.