Little Picacho Wilderness
Guide

Introduction

Taking up over 38,000 acres of land in the southeastern corner of California is Little Picacho Wilderness. This land is managed and cared for by the Bureau of Land Management and has been established since 1994. The Chocolate Mountain and the Colorado River are just a couple of amazing sights you will see upon visiting Little Picacho Wilderness.

Part of the wilderness expands into Arizona as well, with Yuma being the closest city. The terrain varies quite a bit there. Some areas are vast open deserts that are used for skydivers to land in, while others are steep mountains that hikers enjoy. Because of this, there are plenty of different animals you may see present. Desert tortoises and wild horses are some of the more commonly seen animals.

People visit Little Picacho Wilderness for a variety of different reasons. There are plenty of activities to enjoy including hiking, wildlife spotting, and hunting. After enjoying any activity at Little Picacho Wilderness, you can sit back and relax at one of the nearby campgrounds. If you're traveling with children, you can easily rent an RV and make an entire weekend out of it!

RV Rentals in Little Picacho Wilderness

Transportation

Driving

Thankfully, Little Picacho Wilderness is easily accessible from California, Arizona, and even Mexico. The entrance can be reached by taking one of two routes. If you find yourself coming from the east, you will take Interstate 8 to State Route S-24. If you're coming from another direction you will see signs leading you to Imperial Dam and you'll know you're getting close to Little Picacho Wilderness.

The roads leading to the wilderness are paved and well-maintained. You won't have to worry about any detours due to extreme weather events. It is important to mention that because there is a lack of cellphone service in the area, make sure you check for road closures ahead of time and pack a physical map with you.

As long as you aren't driving through mountains, you won't have to worry about any curvy or winding roads on your way to Little Picacho. The deeper into the wilderness you get, the more intense the terrain is. Once you arrive, you will be getting around on foot. Given how much the terrain varies, it's important to wear the proper shoes or hiking boots.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Little Picacho Wilderness

Campsites in Little Picacho Wilderness

First-come first-served

Little Picacho Wilderness

If you're looking for dispersed camping options on your visit to Little Picacho Wilderness, you can stay right in the wilderness. Camping is available here on a first-come, first-served basis. There is not a specific number of campsites available. If you're looking for something more private, this is it.

There are no modern amenities such as toilets, drinking water, fire rings, showers, or running water. When camping in the wilderness you'll be able to easily access the hiking trails. While there are no fire pits or fire rings in the area, ground fires are permitted.

It is important to note that tent camping is allowed within the wilderness area boundaries, but camping in an RV must be done so on the roads throughout the wilderness. This is a great way to get completely immersed in nature and save time and money on gas by not having to drive to another campground.

4S Beach Campground

4S Beach Campground is a small yet stunning place to rest your head when visiting Little Picacho Wilderness. There you find organized and primitive camping and just four campsites in total. There are fire rings, picnic tables, and shade canopies available for your convenience at each campsite.

This campground is available for the public on a first-come, first-served basis. You will not find drinking water, toilets, showers, trash cans, or much cell phone service. Luckily, there is easy access to the beach and hiking trails. Many people who camp here enjoy the variety of wildlife sightings, bass fishing, water activities, and hiking.

Camping is available to both RV and tent campers. It is important that you bring all of the necessary necessities as this campground is extremely remote. It is nestled right along the Colorado River giving you the sound of lapping water to fall asleep to during your stay.

Picacho State Recreation Area

Picacho State Recreation Area is another area where you can camp during your visit to Little Picacho Wilderness. There are a total of 85 electric campsites available for tent and RV campers and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each campsite is allowed for vehicles and no more than 12 people. There are not any water or sewer hookups available for RVs.

The price to camp their ranges depending on the time of year you visit. You will have easy access to a dump station as well as potable water. In this specific campground, generator use is not allowed. You will have easy access to modern restrooms, showers, and even WiFi. Camping here is available all year round with the exception of Christmas Day.

You will be near hiking trails and have a view of rolling hills right from your campsite. If you're not after a completely primitive camping experience, Picacho State Recreation Area is a scenic place to catch some sleep while visiting Little Picacho Wilderness.

Seasonal activities in Little Picacho Wilderness

In-Season

Hunting

If you're looking for a popular peak season activity to take part in during your visit to Little Picacho Wilderness, consider hunting one of them. Thanks to the variety of landscapes in the area, there are a wide variety of animals as well.

There are desert bighorn sheep, wild horses, and even wild burros. You will be able to hunt more common animals such as elk and deer. It is important that you have the proper licenses needed for hunting. Visitors and locals alike can easily access permits and hunting licenses online for the state of California.

Hiking

One of the best parts of Little Picacho Wilderness is the Chocolate Mountains. It may not be the type of chocolate mountain that Willy Wonka would create, but it is a hiker's paradise. Elevations range between 200 feet and 1,500 feet.

Hikers enjoy this area so much because of the different types of areas they can hike. There are steep bridges, gradual inclines, slopes, and other types of terrain. Be sure to bring a pair of high-quality hiking boots for the best experience possible.

Shooting

A more unique activity that people like to enjoy when visiting Little Picacho Wilderness is shooting. Depending on your preference, you will be able to either shoot guns, slingshots, or a bow and arrow.

Whichever you decide, it is important to clean up after yourself when doing this activity. You should avoid using glass targets and pick up all cartridges and shells. Just like hunting, you will need a proper gun license if you're shooting.

Off-Season

Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife viewing is a fun activity that anyone of any age can enjoy. It's also a great way to kick back and relax after a long hike at Little Picacho Wilderness. For the best wildlife spotting experience, bring a pair of binoculars for everyone to share.

You might see animals such as desert tortoises, spotted bats, bighorn sheep, and even herds of wild horses. Remember that this is their home and enjoy watching them from a safe distance.

Stargazing

The desert of California, far away from the bright lights of Los Angeles, is the perfect area to see how bright the stars really are. Little Picacho Wilderness offers an amazing opportunity to relax and watch the cosmos drift by as you cuddle up to your loved one during a chilly desert evening.

You can even make this activity a bit more fun by bringing a star map or downloading an app where you're able to easily spot constellations.

Photography

Do you consider yourself creative? Are you looking for a way to take your trip to Little Picacho Wilderness Home with you? If so, photographing your experiences there is a great way to do just that.

You don't need a fancy high-end camera to capture the beauty of the landscapes and nature surrounding you at Little Picacho Wilderness. You could take photos of wild animals and your camping buddies as well! This is a fun and easy activity for just about anyone to enjoy.