Jacumba Wilderness
Guide

Introduction

If you're looking for a beautiful place to visit in Southern California, the Jacumba Mountains Wilderness is a great option. It is located in San Diego County California, just west of El Centro. The wilderness takes up around 32,000 acres of vast desert and Rocky Mountain terrain. It is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and has been part of the preservation system since 1994.

When visiting here, it will appear as if no human has ever stepped foot in the area. This is due to the enforced Leave No Trace policy. Visitors are instructed to clean up anything they bring with them, including trash. This helps to preserve the area and keep it safe for the local animals. Speaking of animals, you may see a variety of big game animals such as elk, sheep, and bears.

There are several activities people enjoy when visiting the Jacumba Mountains Wilderness. Depending on the time of your visit, you may enjoy a day of rock climbing or hiking throughout the wilderness or relax by viewing wildlife in their natural habitat. There are also plenty of nearby campgrounds that are available for RV and tent campers. This is a great way to unplug and get away from the stress of your daily life.

RV Rentals in Jacumba Wilderness

Transportation

Driving

Located in southern California, just north of the Mexico border, you will find Jacumba Wilderness. The nearest city is El Centro, which is 30 miles to the east of Jacumba. The majority of visitors will be able to get to the wilderness by taking Interstate 8. Even though it's rather close to an interstate, Jacumba Wilderness is still peaceful and quiet.

From Interstate 8 you will encounter several steep and winding roads. While caution is especially important in larger vehicles such as RVs and camper vans, if you have the opportunity to, be sure to use four-wheel-drive. These steep roads are due to the mountainous terrain surrounding the wilderness.

When you begin getting closer to the wilderness, just off of Highway 98 you will see a Bureau of Land Management sign that will lead you straight to the Jacumba entrance. The roads throughout the wilderness can be quite bumpy and uneven but aren't too difficult to drive on. Motorized vehicles are only allowed in a portion of the wilderness and things like dirt bikes and off-highway vehicles are prohibited. The majority of people visiting here will get around on foot or on horseback.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Jacumba Wilderness

Campsites in Jacumba Wilderness

Reservations camping

Cottonwood Campground

Cottonwood campground is open from the end of August through the end of May with a reservation. You may be able to get a campsite without a reservation from mid-June until the beginning of September. It is rather close to Joshua Tree National Park, making it a beautiful place to rest your head.

There are 62 campsites in total. Each campsite has a fire ring and a picnic table, but there are no electrical hookups. There are drinking water and flush toilets available for your convenience. Cottonwood Campground sits at an elevation of around 3,000 feet. People who camp here enjoy hiking, wildlife viewing, and stargazing.

There is even a barbecue grill available for campers to use. When staying here you are allowed up to two total campsites and two vehicles per campsite. Generator use is allowed at very specific hours of the day. If you're staying here be sure to check the scheduled times.

First-come first-served

Jacumba Mountains Wilderness

Jacumba Mountains Wilderness is a BLM campground where are you will find both tent and RV camping. The campsites are dispersed and are free to the public. While camping there, you will not have access to toilets or water.

Many people who stay there enjoy fishing and hunting when they're not exploring the wilderness. There are no electric hook-ups available for RV campers, which makes this the perfect spot to unplug from your daily life. If you're looking to camp somewhere in an area where you have your own space, it's quiet, and don't have to worry about reservations, the Jacumba Mountains Wilderness is a great choice.

This campsite has spots available on a first-come, first-serve basis. It sits at an elevation of just over 1,100 feet and is located near El Centro, California. There are no limits to the length or size of RVs and trailers due to how open this campground is.

Boulder Oaks Campground

Boulder Oaks Campground has camping available for RVs and tents. There are 30 campsites in total that sit on an elevation of just over 3,000 feet. The maximum length of an RV or trailer allowed at this campground is 27 feet. Campers are allowed to stay for a maximum of 14 days per month and the campground is open from June until February.

This is considered a dry camping area, but there is water available and there are vault toilets. Staying here you will be able to enjoy the picnic area, horse corral, and recreational trails. Reservations are not available and campsites are on a first-come, first-served basis. The pads are gravel and the road is a bit bumpy coming into the campground.

If you're looking for a quiet getaway while visiting Jacumba Wilderness, Boulder Oaks is a great spot to get some rest. This campground is part of Cleveland National Forest, which is also a beautiful place to visit in Southern California.

Seasonal activities in Jacumba Wilderness

In-Season

Climbing

If you're looking for a thrill or just wanting to get in a solid workout, there is plenty of rock climbing available for visitors to Jacumba Wilderness. If you're planning on climbing, it's important that you bring the proper equipment you'll need.

Climbing is a great way to get an amazing view of the wilderness from above. There are countless areas where you're allowed to rock climb; just remember to check the sun schedule before heading out to avoid climbing in the shade.

Hunting

Hunting is another popular activity that takes place at Jacumba Mountains Wilderness. You must have a hunting license whether you're a resident or nonresident. These can be easily accessed online.

When it comes to animals you'll see around the wilderness, the most common are wild pigs, bears, elk, pronghorn sheep, bighorn sheep, and deer. There are proper tagging procedures that are specific to California law when it comes to hunting in this area. Be sure to read up on these procedures before you begin your hunt.

Hiking

Hiking is easily one of the most popular activities that take place when visiting Jacumba Mountain Wilderness. There are a variety of different trails available for you to choose from. There are steep, strenuous hikes, as well as level trails for people looking for a brisk walk.

There are a variety of different trails available for you to choose from. There are steep strenuous hikes, as well as level trails for people looking for a brisk walk. No matter which type of trail you'd like to conquer, remember to pack a high-quality pair of hiking boots.

Off-Season

Wildlife Viewing

If you enjoy seeing animals and critters in their natural habitat, make sure to bring a pair of binoculars to enjoy a bit of wildlife viewing when you visit Jacumba Mountains Wilderness. Depending on where you are you may see golden eagles, kangaroo rats, mule deer, and maybe even a peninsular bighorn sheep.

There are a variety of different birds that will fly overhead and insects that crawl around the vegetation. This is a great activity to take part in, especially if you're traveling with children.

Shooting

Shooting is a great outdoor activity if you're looking for a bit of an adrenaline rush. It is important to look at the BLM map to know where shooting is allowed within Jacumba Wilderness. Glass is not allowed and it is suggested not to use clay pigeons as they are difficult to clean up.

You must bring your own gun or a bow and be sure to clean up all of your target material and cartridges. This is a common activity for people to enjoy as a bonding experience with their children.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is another popular off-season activity that you can enjoy while visiting the Jacumba Mountains Wilderness. Due to the high temperatures in the area, it is important that you bring all of your own supplies, including water for your horse.

There is also a nearby campground that has horse trails and a horse corral. This is a unique and beautiful way to explore Jaumba Wilderness from a different point of view, all while spending time with your horse.

Find the perfect campsite.