El Paso Mountains Wilderness
Guide

Introduction

Are you feeling like an RV trip is in order? Why not consider a trip to California's El Paso Mountains Wilderness? It's an exciting place for a camping holiday.
A property operated by the Bureau of Land Management, El Paso Mountains Wilderness is located within the Mojave Desert in Kern County, California. This area was declared a national wilderness site in 1994 and is comprised of 23,780 acres of total landmass.
The landscape consists of many unique topographical features, including red-hued buttes and volcano-impacted mesas. At an elevation of 5,244 feet, Black Mountain, a now dormant volcano, is the focal point of the property. The grounds at El Paso Mountains Wilderness support many species of flora and fauna. Some of the wildlife found on the premises include desert bighorn sheep, burrowing owl, desert kit fox, many rare bat species, and Mohave ground squirrel.
There are many sites of cultural significance located near to El Paso Mountains Wilderness. One of the most popular attractions is the Last Chance Archaeological District, a property that has been included on America's National Register of Historic Places. Other popular activities to enjoy on a visit to the wilderness include hiking, horseback riding, and local sightseeing.
El Paso Mountains Wilderness is the ideal spot for doing some backcountry camping. Though no amenities are provided on the grounds, this primitive style camping connects man with nature in one of the country's most idyllic settings. There are several public RV parks where campsites can be obtained for a fee. Red Rock Canyon State Park also offers camping that is suitable for RV stays and tenting.
For a wonderful vacation in the heart of the California wilderness, plan a trip to El Paso Mountains Wilderness. It is a fantastic place for a relaxing RV holiday!

RV Rentals in El Paso Mountains Wilderness

Transportation

Driving

Travel to El Paso Mountains Wilderness proceeds along a stretch of two-lane highway which forms a straight shot through the Mojave Desert. Access to the wilderness is found quite far from the highway, meaning travelers must park their vehicles by the side of the road and travel to the entrance on foot. Vehicles with 4WD may be able to traverse the sandy terrain to get from the highway's end to the wilderness. Exercise caution to avoid becoming stuck in the sand.

Wildlife does make its way onto the road on occasion, so remain alert to avoid an accident. Road construction is almost never seen along this route, so it is unlikely you will experience any delays while traveling to El Paso Mountains Wilderness.

Parking

There is no formally designated parking lot found on the premises of El Paso Mountains Wilderness. Since travel to the wilderness grounds necessitates some hiking, you will need to leave your vehicle by the side of the road and travel the remainder of the distance on foot. There is ample space for parking.

Public Transportation

There is no public transportation available to El Paso Mountains Wilderness due to its extremely remote location.

Campgrounds and parking in El Paso Mountains Wilderness

Campsites in El Paso Mountains Wilderness

Reservations camping

Black Mountain Group Campground

Black Mountain Group Campground offers RV and tent camping by reservation only between May 22nd and October 21st yearly. A campground that prioritizes group camping, Black Mountain Group Campground is an extremely picturesque property, offering views of the nearby San Jacinto and San Gabriel Mountains.
There are many outdoor activities to enjoy here, including hiking, mountain climbing, fishing, biking, and hiking.
There is one large campsite for groups that can house up to 100 people in tents. There is also a parking lot found on the grounds which is large enough for 50 cars but is not recommended for RV or trailer parking.
The on-site amenities include picnic tables, fire pits, grills, and vault toilets. There is no drinking water available at the campground; however, up the road is the Cinco Posa Spring tap where a potable water supply can be found.

First-come first-served

Ricardo Campground in Red Rock Canyon State Park

The Ricardo Campground is found within Red Rock Canyon State Park. Located against a breathtakingly beautiful expanse of cliffs, this camping facility offers 50 primitive campsites for RV and tent stays.

The on-site amenities include vault toilets, drinking water, fire pits, and picnic tables. Firewood may be brought from home or purchased at the visitor center found on the premises. It is important to note that there are no showers or power hookups at this campground.

Each campsite is on a first-come, first-served basis with no reservations accepted. Campsites do fill quickly, so it is best to arrive early to be sure to get a spot.

Dogs are permitted on the grounds but must remain on a leash of no greater than six feet in length.

Alternate camping

El Paso Mountains Wilderness

El Paso Mountains Wilderness offers campsites for RV and tent campers year-round. Camping on the grounds is extremely rustic with no amenities provided.

Since travel to any campsite must occur over very rugged, off-road terrain, a 4WD vehicle is recommended. The wilderness is better suited to tenting than RV or trailer stays.

There is a limit on camping stays of no more than 14 days. For families wishing for a longer visit, they may enjoy more time at this idyllic camping spot but must move to a new location that is a minimum of 25 miles away from the old one.

Dogs are permitted on the grounds. Though there is no designated leash law, a lead is recommended. Dogs are to remain under the control of their owners at all times.

Some of the most popular activities on the grounds include horseback riding, hiking, and hunting.

Seasonal activities in El Paso Mountains Wilderness

In-Season

Burro Schmidt's Tunnel

Just outside the town of Mojave is a local landmark that is not to be missed: Burro Schmidt's Tunnel. The tunnel is located on a BLM property and is well-marked, making it easy to find.

The tunnel was extremely well-built and remains safe for visitors to walk the entire length of it, an activity which takes approximately half an hour. A careful eye can easily see the remains of mineral deposits from rock formations within the walls.

Bring along a flashlight and some backup batteries as it is quite dark in the tunnel, and you will need light to see. Drinking water and appropriate walking shoes are also must-haves for this trip.

At the tunnel's edge, there is a small portion of land where you can stand and enjoy views of the former mining town known as Randsburg which sits at the very pinnacle of a nearby mountain.

Garlock

Considered to be a ghost town today, Garlock is one area landmark that is well worth a visit. The town is named for Eugene Garlock, who was responsible for the building of the first ore mill to process materials sourced in the nearby Randsburg miles. With ore production readily increasing, the first mill, which was named Garlock Pioneer Mill, became the first of six to accommodate production demands.
Garlock was only a small town. Still, it had all of the amenities necessary for residential living, including a church, a school, and a location for the Garlock Literary Society, a force responsible for helping shape the morals of the town. In 1903, the town was abandoned when most of its residents began to seek housing elsewhere. Today, there are still some old buildings on the grounds, a tribute to a once productive town that is now a shadow of its former self.
Garlock has been featured on several different TV programs, including the popular series Ripley's Believe It or Not.

Last Chance Archaeological District

Last Chance Archaeological District, also known as Last Chance Canyon, sits within the El Paso Mountain range near to Johannesburg, California. The property encompasses the land from Saltdale to Black Mountain, with a section of it housed within Red Rock Canyon State Park.
Last Chance Archaeological District was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Today, this region is home to many different excavation sites and exhibits. Found within the grounds are many villages, mills, quarries, rock shelters, and pictographs. There are also several former gold mining camps within the canyon itself.
Last Chance Canyon is a Bureau of Land Management property that is open for public use. Though most come to view the artifacts found therein, the area is also popular for its hiking and camping opportunities.

Off-Season

Cudahy Ghost Camp

Cudahy Ghost Camp was formerly a mining camp. It was founded in 1923 and sits near to the Old Dutch Cleanser Mine, a mine that dug for pumicite. The mine received its name for its product's inclusion in a popular cleanser of the day known as Old Dutch Cleanser.
The Old Dutch Cleanser Mine was perched on a high cliff. Twelve men worked the mine daily and yielded an impressive 100 tons of pumicite per week. Though the mine was extremely productive, it closed in 1947 when costs for continued operations became financially untenable. Today, the Cudahy Ghost Camp is little more than a few scattered foundations from buildings that once sat on the land.

El Paso Mountains Mining District

The El Paso Mountains Mining District encompasses a number of small towns within the region. Goler Canyon is one of these towns, and it prospered as a prolific gold mine, which began production in 1893.
Other popular mining camps were built in Last Chance, Red Rock, Jawbone Canyon, and Summit Diggings. By the beginning of the 20th century, the mining industry was in a sharp decline. However, the industry was briefly revitalized in the 1930s. Today, minor operations continue in the region, though not on the scale of the district's former glory days.

Red Rock Canyon State Park

Red Rock Canyon State Park is a public recreational area of immense beauty. The landscape is dotted with rich rock formations, immense cliff faces, and incredible buttes. The park is located at the confluence of the Sierra Nevada and El Paso Mountain ranges.

The region is of great historical significance, having once been the settling grounds for the Kawaiisu Indians who left behind petroglyphs in the mountain range. There is also a carved path that was once an important route for trade ventures in use for many years.
Red Rock Canyon State Park is a haven where both flora and fauna flourish. A humid desert region, the beauty of this recreational area makes it a popular spot for RV campers.

Find the perfect campsite.