Mecca Hills Wilderness
Guide

Introduction

If you feel the voice of adventure calling your name, perhaps it's time to consider a trip to California's Mecca Hills Wilderness. It's an amazing place for an RV getaway!

Mecca Hills Wilderness, a property cared for by the Bureau of Land Management, is found in Riverside County's Chuckwalla, California. This beloved region was designated a national wilderness in 1994 and encompasses 26,356 acres of land in total. An area renowned for its solitude and serenity, Mecca Hills Wilderness is the ideal place for families looking to reconnect with nature and indulge in some much-needed R&R.

A property that is deeply impacted by the San Andreas Fault, Mecca Hills Wilderness is home to many unique rock structures. Portions of the wilderness bear evidence of rock erosion which experts believe trace back as far as 600 million years ago. Mecca Hills Wilderness is an important center of scientific study, assisting geologists with their research to determine how the earth's crust is impacted by eroding rock formations.

The landscape here is both diverse and beautiful and is well-marked by an abundance of picturesque canyons. One of the most frequently visited spots on the premises is Painted Canyon, a region that is awash with rich color from the varied tree cover, wildflowers, and plant life. Many varieties of wildlife also make their home in Mecca Hills Wilderness including bighorn sheep, which travel from the well-watered area near the Orocopia Mountains. Other animals commonly seen on the grounds are spotted bats, desert tortoises, and prairie falcons.
Mecca Hills Wilderness is a popular attraction for those who enjoy hiking. There are many different trails found throughout the premises. To be sure there is something to suit the tastes of every member of the hiking team, as trails vary in length, intensity, and type of landscape covered.

Both RV and tent camping can be found at several nearby locations with backcountry camping conditions available directly on the wilderness grounds for those with a true spirit of adventure.

For a fantastic RV vacation in the heart of the California coast, plan a trip to Mecca Hills Wilderness. You'll have so much fun you'll want to return year after year!

RV Rentals in Mecca Hills Wilderness

Transportation

Driving

To reach Mecca Hills Wilderness from the east, travelers must follow Highway 195, a two-lane, paved stretch of road also known as Box Canyon Road. This rural highway cuts through a rich expanse of desert and offers incredible views of the mountain ranges in the distance. Southbound access to the wilderness is found via Highway 111.

Travel directly to the wilderness involves some hiking or the use of a vehicle with four-wheel-drive. For access via four-wheel-drive, families should follow Painted Canyon Road which can be picked up where Highway 195 meets the Coachella Canal. It is important to note that Painted Canyon Road is comprised entirely of dirt. At the end of this stretch of road is a parking lot where families can safely leave their cars, RVs, or travel trailers before proceeding directly to the wilderness grounds on foot.

Parking

Parking for RVs, trailers, and cars can be found in the on-site lot at the end of Painted Canyon Road.

Public Transportation

There is no public transportation available to Mecca Hills Wilderness.

Campgrounds and parking in Mecca Hills Wilderness

Campsites in Mecca Hills Wilderness

Reservations camping

Mecca Beach Campground

Mecca Beach Campground is found with the Salton Sea State Recreation Area. This popular camping facility offers 48 sites suitable for RV and tent camping. Reservations are required for stays from October through May yearly.

Full power, water, and sewer hookups are available. Each campsite is furnished with a fire pit and picnic table. Other on-site amenities include bathrooms and showers.

There are several outdoor activities to enjoy here including hiking and fishing.

Dogs are permitted on the grounds but must remain leashed at all times.

Mecca Beach Campground is able to accommodate large RVs and trailers upon request.

Lake Cahuilla Campground

Lake Cahuilla Campground is located within the public park of the same name. RV and tent camping is permitted here from May through October yearly by reservation only. There are over 150 campsites available with 46 of them offering full power and water hookups.

The on-site amenities at Lake Cahuilla Campground include showers, a waste disposal station, and picnic areas. Each of the picnic areas is furnished with barbecues, tables, and grass spaces for the public to use.

Though there is a lake on the premises, swimming is not permitted there. However, this property is home to an outdoor swimming pool which provides lifeguard service.

Seasonal activities in Mecca Hills Wilderness

In-Season

Hike Painted Canyon Trail

Painted Canyon Trail is a popular attraction for families that enjoy hiking. This trail is nearly five miles in total length and travels through diverse and scenic terrain. A loop trail, this hiking route sees heavy traffic year-round.

Painted Canyon Trail is considered a hike of moderate difficulty, making it well-suited to hikers in good physical condition. The trail is well-marked by rock arrows and contains ladders to navigate up and down rock faces to new paths.

Though the climbs can be challenging, they are well worth the effort for the scenic views found at the top. Since Painted Canyon Road is a dirt road, care must be taken if traveling along the route in a car. Two-wheel-drive vehicles may have difficulty traversing the road in wet weather conditions due to the sand.

Painted Canyon Trail also provides breathtaking views of the nearby Salton Sea, so this is one trip where you will definitely want to have your camera in hand!

Visit Old Town La Quinta

Old Town La Quinta is a must-see destination during a vacation at Mecca Hills Wilderness. This popular tourist attraction is found at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains. Old Town has the distinction of being the most beloved meeting point in the region. Its Main Street boasts many boutique shops, restaurants, and cafes for families to enjoy.

The town's unique character is a major draw for many visitors, who return year-round to enjoy its charm and beauty. From farmers' markets to outdoor cafes with views of the city, there is something for everyone to love here.

Old Town La Quinta has a serene air, making it a wonderful place to simply relax and enjoy the simpler pleasures in life such as reading a good book or taking a leisurely stroll.

Tahquitz Canyon

An area renowned for its immense beauty, Tahquitz Canyon is worth a visit when enjoying a stay at Mecca Hills Wilderness. Tahquitz Canyon forms a portion of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation. Found on the grounds is an incredible waterfall that reaches 60 feet in height. Other popular attractions include rock art, irrigation structures representing past civilizations, unique wildlife, and diverse vegetation.

Directly at the entrance to the canyon is a visitor's center. Here, families can explore the area's history and visit exhibits of geological significance. Also found within this building is an observation deck and screening room where the film The Legend of Tahquitz Canyon is played.

For more information about hours of operation, scheduled screenings, and associated costs, check the canyon's website.

Off-Season

Lake Cahuilla Recreation Area

Lake Cahuilla Recreation Area is a popular place to visit for those seeking some outdoor fun. The property sits at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains, providing a scenic backdrop that is the perfect locale for family photos.

There are many interesting things to do at Lake Cahuilla Recreation Area including fishing, picnicking, and swimming. Also found on the grounds are many hiking trails that are also well-suited to horseback riding.

RV and tent camping is also available on the premises. Families can stop by to enjoy a day of outdoor fun or plan an overnight stay. Bring along a camera to be sure to capture the beautiful sights you will discover on a trip to Lake Cahuilla Recreation Area.

Fritz Burns Park

For families looking for a good old-fashioned community park to enjoy, you can't go wrong with a trip to Fritz Burns Park. Located on the corner of the Avenidas 52 and Bermudas, this popular public recreational center boasts of 12 acres of property for families to explore.

The park is open from dawn to 10 PM daily and offers such favorite activities as tennis and pickle ball. There is also a playground housed on the grounds.

A park pavilion is available for rent by reservation only, and there are also picnic tables where you can enjoy a family meal.

Strolling through the grounds enjoying the beauty of the lush surroundings is another popular activity at this public park.

Lost Palms Oasis Trail

Lost Palms Oasis Trail is a destination hotspot for families that enjoy hiking. The trail consists of a little over seven miles. It sees regular traffic on a daily basis. An out and back trail, one of the most beautiful features seen along this hike is the rich expanse of wildflowers, arrayed in brilliant hues. Though this trail is open year-round for public use, it is considered to be at its most attractive from March through October.

Families will find the hiking conditions are suited to those who enjoy a moderate activity level. A wide variety of wildlife can be seen along the route including such creatures as snakes, tarantulas, hares, jackrabbits, squirrels, lizards, and more.

Since the trail winds through regions with intense sun, sunscreen is an absolute must.

Find the perfect campsite.