Bristol Mountains Wilderness
Guide

Introduction

The Bristol Mountains Wilderness is a vast area of land in California that is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. It contains over 71,000 acres of desert and is surrounded by beautiful towering mountains. It is just northeast of Joshua Tree National Park, and it also is bordered by the Mojave Wilderness.
The peak of the Bristol Mountain lies at an elevation of 3,874 feet above sea level. This is an excellent spot for hikers and climbers to enjoy some time in the great outdoors. There is also unique vegetation all around the area, such as desert wash scrub and several different cacti. People who visit the Bristol Mountains Wilderness enjoy outdoor activities such as wildlife viewing, hiking, stargazing, climbing, and biking.
There are also several camping areas nearby where travelers can enjoy a peaceful night's rest in the heart of nature. Bristol Mountains Wilderness is on a tilted dormant volcanic plane, which can create some extreme traveling for visitors. For those who enjoy a challenge and an adventure during their travels, the Bristol Mountains Wilderness is worth a visit!

RV Rentals in Bristol Mountains Wilderness

Transportation

Driving

Bristol Mountains Wilderness is one of the more unique areas to get to when it comes to transportation. One way you can easily get there is by taking Interstate 40. This will eventually turn into the southern boundary of the Bristol Mountains Wilderness. All of the roads in and around Bristol Mountains Wilderness are either dirt roads or pipeline roads.

The fact that the area is on a tilted volcanic plane can make travel a bit challenging. Some of the roads around the area are quite winding and hard to navigate. It is advised that if you are traveling in a large vehicle such as an RV, truck, or camper van, to take your time around these sharp curves for safety purposes.

There are often road closures near Bristol Mountains Wilderness that can cause a bit of a headache. For this reason, you can easily check online to see if there are any road closures during your trip. If there are, most websites will list alternative routes and you won't be met with an unforeseen detour.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Bristol Mountains Wilderness

Campsites in Bristol Mountains Wilderness

First-come first-served

Jumbo Rocks Campground

Jumbo Rocks Campground is open from the end of August to the end of December and the beginning of January until the beginning of June. It is named after the giant boulders and rock formations that are all around the campground. It is available on a first-come, first-served basis from the beginning of June all the way through August.

This campground sits at an elevation of 4,380 feet. There are over 120 individual tent and RV campsites available. There is no drinking water or any RV hookups at the campsites. You can have six people per campsite and two vehicles. Camping here allows you to enjoy the beautiful nature near Joshua Tree National Park.

Each campsite has a fire ring, a picnic table, and a grill available for convenience. There are out-houses available that serve as restrooms. This campground is amazing because the campsites are so spread out from each other that you get to sleep in peace and quiet.

White Tank Campground

White Tank Campground is another close option for travelers visiting the Bristol Mountain Wilderness that want an amazing camping experience. There are a total of 15 campsites for RV and tent campers. It is important to note that if you plan on camping in a hammock, it is permitted within the campgrounds.
You can only tie up a hammock onto rocks and not on any vegetation as it is prohibited. All campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and the campground does not accept reservations of any kind. RVs and trailers have a maximum length of 25 feet, and there are no hookups available.
There are plenty of picnic tables, fire rings, and grills to use at your convenience. Many people flock to this campground for the amazing view of the stars after the sun goes down. This is because it is located in one of the darkest sections in this area of California.

BLM Dispersed Camping Area

The Bureau of Land Management has dispersed camping all around Bristol Mountains Wilderness and Joshua Tree National Park. Dispersed camping is camping that is allowed anywhere in specifically indicated areas. At these sites, you will find no restrooms, picnic benches, fire rings, or other amenities.
You must make sure you're camping at least 300 feet away from the roadway. The spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is so much space for dispersed camping around this area, and you should never have to worry about not finding a place to sleep. With that being said, there are no RV size limits, and there are also no RV hookups of any kind.
Dispersed camping is a great way to enjoy nature and get away from all modern amenities. It is important that since there are no trash cans or dump stations available, taking all of your trash with you will help preserve the land.

Seasonal activities in Bristol Mountains Wilderness

In-Season

Hiking

Bristol Mountains Wilderness has plenty of space for you to hike. There are no designated hiking trails, making the majority of the 71,000 acres yours to roam. If you are looking for trails, just north you'll find Bristol Mountain. There are race trails as well as plenty of ski trails here.
When it comes to the Bristol Mountains Wilderness, there are a variety of different types of terrain. There are flat and well-maintained areas for people looking for a casual walk in the park. On the other hand, there are steep and vigorous areas for those looking for a challenging hike.

Stargazing

One of the most popular activities in the area is stargazing. Because you're in the middle of the desert in California, you're likely able to see more stars than you ever have before. There are plenty of campgrounds around where you can pitch a tent or park the RV to sit under the evening sky and observe the galaxies.

Whether you're traveling with friends, family, or alone, this can be a breathtaking activity that is unmatched by most other locations in the United States.

Climbing

Similarly to hiking, rock climbers love visiting Bristol Mountains Wilderness. There are a variety of different cliffs and steep hills to give even the most trained climber a challenge. This is a great way to get in a little bit of exercise on your trip. You may want to look up the map of the sun to help you better plan what time you should start climbing. Doing so will help you avoid climbing during nightfall.

Off-Season

Picnicking

A simple but nonetheless relaxing activity that just about everyone can take part in while visiting Bristol Mountains Wilderness is picnicking. There are no designated picnic areas available or even picnic tables for that matter, but don't let that stop you. When you decide to enjoy a meal after a long hike or to get your day started, you can do so at just about any area of Bristol Mountains Wilderness.
This allows you to be more immersed in nature and enjoy time with your loved ones. There is a No Trace Left Behind policy in place to help preserve the land. Please take all garbage and belongings with you after your meal.

Wildlife Viewing

An activity that the whole family might enjoy is wildlife viewing. There are plenty of different mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles in Bristol Mountains Wilderness. Some of the more common animals that visitors see in the desert are coyotes, bighorn sheep, snakes, black-tailed jackrabbits, and even kangaroo rats.
The best time to see animals when visiting Bristol Mountains Wilderness is during dawn or dusk. Since there are animals such as coyotes, it may be a good idea to read up on what to do if a wild animal approaches you.

Photography

When it comes to activities, photography is a great way to spend your time while visiting the Bristol Mountains Wilderness. You can take beautiful pictures of the scenic landscape, capture the many critters in their natural habitat, and even snap a few shots of you and your camping crew in front of the mountains or in the desert. This is the perfect way to bring a bit of your trip home with you!