The Hollow Hills Wilderness is a Bureau of Land Management administered wilderness area that was designated as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System in 1994. The wilderness area comprises 22 366 acres in California, with the Death Valley National Park to the north and the Mojave National Preserve to the south.
The Hollow Hills' most prominent feature is a debris field sloping east to west towards Silver Lake, a dry lake bed situated on the southwest boundary of the wilderness region. The sloping debris field, formed by descending washes and drainages, is referred to as a bajada. There are also small gentle rounded hills on the eastern section of the wilderness approaching the Turquoise mountains. Elevations vary from 300 feet near the dry lake to 3122 feet at the highest point in the wilderness. The area is also characterized by alluvial fans, triangle-shaped gravel deposits left by water flowing down inclines. Vegetation in the region includes creosote bush, desert holly, and desert scrub. The wilderness area is very arid with no dependable sources of water.
Recreational activity in the area includes backcountry camping, hiking, and horseback riding. There are no designated or marked trails, so adventurers in the area will need to pick their own way through the rough desert terrain. Visitors to the area can enjoy secluded pristine desert wilderness, excellent dark sky viewing, and interesting desert creatures such as the desert tortoises and Mojave fringe-toed lizards.
RV visitors to the area can also visit nearby Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Joshua Tree National Forest. RV rentals in the area can be found at California RV Rentals.
The BLM Hollow Hills Wilderness is located in San Bernardino County, California, and surrounded by natural wilderness areas, national forests, and preserves, including Death Valley National Park, Mojave National Preserve, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and Joshua Tree National Forest. This is a great area for RVing with plenty of interesting desert destinations and natural areas.
The Hollows Hills Wilderness is approximately four miles north of the small town of Baker, California. Motorized vehicles are not permitted in the BLM wilderness area and must be parked 30 feet back from the wilderness boundary. Using California State Highway 127, travel east on Halloran Springs Road which runs along the northern boundary of the Hollow Hills to access the area.
Temperatures in the air exceed 100 F in the summer months and services and facilities in the area are few and far between. Cellular coverage can also be pretty unreliable in this desert wilderness region. Before traveling in the area, ensure your vehicle is in good condition with topped up fluid levels. Take extra water for drinking, and to top up coolant if required. Ensure you don't leave passengers or pets in parked vehicles in these extremely hot temperatures.
The Afton Canyon Campground in the Mojave Trails National Monument is situated along a river with 300 foot high cliffs. There are 22 sites with picnic tables, shelters, and fire pits. Campers will also find vault type pit toilets on site. A creek runs alongside the Afton Canyon Campground year around.
Mid Hills Campground has pit toilets, fire rings, and picnic tables, and is located in the Mojave National Preserve. The Hole In The Wall Campground is also located in the Mojave National Preserve. This campground has 35 RV sites and can accommodate units up to 36 feet in length.
Pit toilets, water supply, picnic tables, and fire rings are available on site. A fire in the area burned some of the trees at these campgrounds, however, there are still some trees providing shade. There are no utility hookups at any of these primitive campgrounds.
Backcountry camping in the Hollow Hills is permitted on BLM public lands. This is a harsh desert environment and experience and knowledge of desert camping practices is required. You will need to pack in an adequate water supply as there are no reliable water sources in the Hollow Hills Wilderness area. See How To Camp In The Desert for more information on how to prepare for, and conduct backcountry desert camping.
While backcountry camping, use previously occupied sites on hard ground to minimize disruption to natural habitat, and choose sites that are 200 yards from trails and water sources. Stays at any one site are limited to a maximum of 14 days. Observe “Leave No Trace” principles including proper disposal of human waste, appropriate firewood gathering practices, and fire restrictions, and packing out all trash. Be prepared for solitude, beautiful desert scenery, and excellent stargazing opportunities while camping in the backcountry in this remote wilderness area.
During the summer, temperatures in the Hollow Hills Wilderness are extreme and unsuitable for strenuous activity for man or beast. Horseback riding in the wilderness region is popular, however, in the spring and fall when temperatures are more moderate and there are thousands of acres of pristine wilderness to enjoy from horseback.
Riding in the desert can present significant challenges, as water sources are not reliable in the region and there is inadequate forage for equines. Equestrians using the area must bring their own feed and water to staging areas if required. Local outfitters can help you with supplies, facilities and directions for exploring the region on horseback.
The Hollow Hills Wilderness has no maintained or marked trails. However, hikers and backpackers can follow washes and trek along level areas to access the elevations, dry lake bed, and interesting geological formations in the Hollow Hills Wilderness. Take lots of water, as reliable water supplies are not available in wilderness area. Ensure you have appropriate footwear to protect from desert vegetation, and negotiate rough terrain and keep an eye out for rattlesnakes which may be present in the area.
The pristine wilderness region makes for excellent wildlife and wilderness photography. Desert tortoises and Mojave fringe-toed lizards are interesting inhabitants of the region, and geological formations such as alluvial fans, the dry lake bed, and bajada, create unique landscapes for backdrops.
The rounded hills provide vantage points for spotting wildlife activity and a unique perspective of the region. Changing light levels throughout the day create varying conditions for wilderness photography, so you may want to visit at different times and in different seasons to capture all this wilderness region has to offer.
The Hollow Hills Wilderness is a remote wilderness area with little light noise from human civilization and settlements. Venture out in the cooler evenings in the summer and enjoy the magnificent night sky from the desert floor in the dry lake or from atop one of the rounded hills on the east side.
Take a portable telescope and star charts to identify constellations and view celestial wonders. Don't rely on night sky applications on handheld devices as cell coverage is not reliable in the region.
When winter winds sweep across the desert landscape or extreme heat occurs in summer, visit the region from climate-controlled comfort in your vehicle. Drive along the northern boundary of the Hollow Hills Wilderness on Highway 127, or visit the Death Valley National Park to the north for some breathtaking drives.
The Artist's Drive in the Death Valley National Park is a nine-mile route filled with multicolored desert hills. Vehicles on this drive are restricted to 25 feet in length. Star Wars aficionados can visit the sites of the fictional planet Tatooine, used in the movie. Six separate sites can be visited including the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and Desolation Canyon.
For something completely different, check out the World's Tallest Thermometer in the small nearby town of Baker, California. This 134-foot tall thermometer was built in 1991 as a way to highlight the soaring temperatures in the Baker and adjacent Hollow Hills Wilderness region. This unique roadside attraction took 333 tons of steel and was built by the Electric Sign Co. of Las Vegas, Nevada. Stop and take a picture beside this mighty meteorological measuring device!