Located in the vast desert that encompasses San Bernardino County, Bighorn Mountain Wilderness is the perfect place for RV lovers who want to explore some of California's finest undeveloped natural wilderness. The Bighorn Mountain Wilderness Area was established in 1994 after the implementation of the California Desert Protection Act of 1994. Since then, it has been an area that attracts adventurers from far and wide, including those who are interested in camping on BLM land.
Featuring over 38,000 acres of diverse ecosystems, Bighorn Mountain Wilderness is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. Within the lands of Bighorn Mountain Wilderness, there are no developed areas (such as campgrounds, trails, or picnic areas), so expect to be in the great outdoors with just your RV rig. Despite the lack of developed areas, there are still plenty of great recreational activities, but due to the extreme summer temperatures, most will happen during the colder months. As you would imagine, exploring the Bighorn Mountains is very popular, as well as spotting some of the local wildlife, such as deer, mountain lions, and golden eagles.
For RV lovers looking for some more amenities, there are plenty of other campgrounds within the Bighorn Mountain Wilderness area. You could also choose to set up camp near Big Bear Lake so that you can experience both the forest and the desert that this area of the state is renowned for. Bighorn Mountain Wilderness is the place to be for a peaceful getaway, so stop thinking about it and plan your trip today.
Bighorn Mountain Wilderness is located in a fairly remote area of southern California within the Mojave Desert area of San Bernardino County. Driving to the park should be relatively straightforward as the main roads are all well maintained by the county.
While there are no major cities around close by, there are a few places near Bighorn Mountain Wilderness that you can stop into if you are looking to pick up any supplies before your trip. These include Pioneertown (around 13.5 miles away), Yucca Valley (around 19.5 miles away), and the world-famous Joshua Tree (around 26 miles away). If you do want to visit any cities, you will have to head west to Riverside or Orange County.
Once you get into the deeper areas of Bighorn Mountain Wilderness, you can expect a lot of the roads not to be regularly maintained, and they are also mostly made of dirt. You should also be aware that the further you drive into the wilderness area, the more remote your trip will become, so make sure that you are prepared for the isolation.
Since Bighorn Mountain Wilderness is BLM land you will have a free reign of where to park during your visit to the area.
For RV lovers wanting to experience a little more luxury, there are some great campgrounds within the San Bernardino National Forest that you can call home. One of the best campgrounds located to the west of the wilderness is the Serrano Campground.
Suitable for RVs up to 55 feet in length, here you will find 93 sites set up for single RV use and 16 sites that are great for doubles. Some of the sites within the Serrano Campground also come with full hookups that have a 30 amp electric connection. Other site amenities include a fire ring and a picnic table. You will also have access to showers, restrooms, a dump station, and be as close as you can get to Big Bear Lake. Pets are also allowed. You should be able to get cell phone service on all of the major networks.
Reservations for the Serrano Campground are recommended and can be made as early as six months in advance or as little as 24 hours beforehand. If you are staying over a holiday weekend, there is a three-night minimum stay policy. Serrano Campground is open from mid-March until the end of November.
One of the reasons that RV travelers love to visit BLM land is that there are endless opportunities for dry camping. You are welcome to park your RV and set up camp anywhere in the Bighorn Mountain Wilderness, as long as you aren't disturbing the wildlife or damaging the environment. There may also be private properties in or near the wilderness area that you must be respectful of and you must not leave anything behind once you are finished with your camping trip.
Camping stays at Bighorn Mountain Wilderness are limited to 14 days in one area. If you have been at a campsite for 14 days you will have to move to another site that is at least 25 miles away. Pets are allowed but they must be leashed at all times. Since the Bighorn Mountain Wilderness is fairly remote we recommend that you take extra supplies (such as water, gas, and food) with you so that you don't run into any trouble.
For RV adventurers seeking more amenities that also want to experience what desert camping is like there are plenty of private campgrounds within an hour's drive of Bighorn Mountain Wilderness. Most of the campgrounds are situated towards the southeast near the more populist areas of Pioneertown and Joshua Tree, but there are also a few towards the Johnson Valley in the north.
As for any desert camping trip remember to pack plenty of water and food so that you will be able to survive if something happens to your RV. The best time to go camping near the Bighorn Mountain Wilderness is during the cooler months so that you won't have to battle the summer heat. Since these private campgrounds are owned by different businesses, we recommend that you choose where you want to camp before setting off for your trip.
The wide-open spaces of the Bighorn Mountain Wilderness Area are perfect for keen photographers. Make the most of the chance to take pictures of the famous Joshua Trees and rolling mountains without the crowds that are found in more popular areas of the Mojave Desert. During the evening the sky will be full of mesmerizing stars and with no light pollution, you will be able to take amazing night sky photos.
Some of the local critters may also be out and about during your visit, so if you have a quick trigger finger you could snap some pics of the wildlife.
While there are no developed trails within the Bighorn Mountain Wilderness area, you will have plenty of spots to go hiking since there are over 30,000 acres available to explore.
The terrain in the park varies from mountain ranges to flat desert, so you will have a large choice of what type of hiking you want to participate in. Hiking is only recommended during the colder months since temperates can easily climb above 100 degrees on most days during the summer.
The ultimate challenge in the area is to try and conquer Bighorn Peak. Bighorn is one of only 21 peaks within California that are over 10,000 feet and can be accessed only by hikers who are willing to forgo any marked trails.
If you would prefer just to get a great view of the peak there is a dirt parking lot at the bottom that you can stop in at instead of climbing this beast. In January there can be snow up on the peak, so keep that in mind when planning your visit.
For visitors to Bighorn Mountain Wilderness who are looking to learn more about the area, there is a great place for you to check out. The Big Bear Discovery Center was first opened in 1998 and provides visitors to San Bernardino County information about the Bighorn Mountain Wilderness and all of the other great outdoor-related activities in the general area.
If you are driving to Bighorn Mountain Wilderness through the Big Bear area the Discovery Center is a must-stop. Here you will find exhibits and interpretive programs, and staff will be on hand to answer any questions you may have. Big Bear Discovery Center is open Thursday through to Monday.
Another great place to stop at near the Bighorn National Wilderness area is the San Bernardino National Forest. If you want to have some fun in the snow, this is the best place to do it, as the forest has so many great activities to enjoy during the wintertime, including cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.
If you plan to drive into the areas of San Bernardino National Forest that are high in elevation, you should make sure that your RV can handle the winter driving.
Located within a short drive of Bighorn Mountain Wilderness is the throwback Pioneertown. Once used as a set for western movies, visiting Pioneertown is like stepping back in time to when cowboys roamed the area.
Since you will either have to pass Pioneertown or be within a handful of miles of it on your journey to Bighorn Mountain Wilderness, it is a great spot to visit before or after your RV exploration. The area is free to walk around in and there is an old-timey bar you can check out if you are feeling thirsty.