Mesquite Wilderness includes parts of the Mesquite Mountains, Clark Mountains, and Mesquite Valley. It is in San Bernardino County, California, about 30 miles away from Baker. The 44,805-acre wilderness shouldn’t be confused with a neighboring wilderness with a similar name, North Mesquite Mountains Wilderness, just 20 miles away. Mesquite Wilderness was designated as a wilderness in 1994 and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
The wilderness is a scenic mountainous area within the Mojave Desert. The desert climate makes October through April an ideal time to visit to avoid the hot, dry 100+ degree heat of summer. Many different types of vegetation and wildlife thrive in the desert climate. Visitors will see Joshua trees, cactus, and pinyon-juniper. Mesquite Wilderness serves as an important habitat for the desert tortoise. Bighorn sheep and road runners are often seen as well.
There are many recreational opportunities to be enjoyed in the wilderness areas. Hiking and climbing the many mountainous ridges is rewarding with stunning, unobstructed views of the surrounding land. The many caves and rocky terrain make it an excellent spot for rockhounding. The abundant wildlife will provide visitors with many opportunities to see desert animals. Wilderness visitors can make the most of their visit by dispersed camping or by staying at one of the nearby campgrounds.
Mesquite Wilderness is located in San Bernardino County, California not far from the Nevada state line. The wilderness area is about six miles away from Primm, Nevada and about 30 miles away from Baker, California. Sections of the Mesquite Mountains, Clark Mountains, and the Mesquite Valley are all part of the nearly 45,000-acre wilderness area. Gas and food can be picked up in both Primm, NV or Baker, CA.
The best route to access the wilderness is by taking 1-15 to Cima Road. From there, head north on Excelsior Mine/Kingston Road for about 10 miles. This will bring you to the wilderness boundary where you’ll see a wilderness kiosk. Excelsior Mine/Kingston Road is a paved road; however, other boundary roads are dirt. Most RVs should be able to access the dispersed campsites, but drivers should use caution on the dirt and often bumpy boundary roads. Visitors can contact the BLM office for road conditions and hazards prior to arriving at Mesquite Wilderness.
There are no developed campgrounds within Mesquite Wilderness. However, dispersed camping is permitted on this BLM property. Dispersed campsites can be found off of the wilderness boundary roads.
What can you expect while dispersed camping in Mesquite Wilderness? Campers will encounter very few other visitors during their visit and even fewer fellow campers. The park is remote and visitors will be able to enjoy solitude during their stay.
The best time to camp at Mesquite Wilderness from late fall to early spring to avoid the hot temperatures that summer brings to the desert. There is no shade throughout much of the wilderness and many of the dispersed campsites. Bring sun protection and plenty of water. There are some springs throughout the wilderness, but they are often dry due to little rainfall and hot temperatures.
There are many hiking opportunities throughout the wilderness area. Take a hike up into the mountains to be rewarded with mountain and valley views. With portions of the Clark Mountains, Mesquite Mountains, and Mesquite Valley in the area, the hiking options seem endless with many acres of land, peaks, valleys, and ridges to explore.
Bring plenty of water for your hike, and you won’t want to forget your phone or camera to snap pictures of the wildlife, desert vegetation, or stunning views.
Mesquite Wilderness is home to Clark Mountain, which is a popular spot for rock climbing. Those planning to climb will want to bring a rope for a class 3 section on the route up.
Many other climbing opportunities await climbers within the wilderness area, with other peaks within the Clark and Mesquite Mountains. The desert conditions are hot and dry. Climbers will want to come equipped with plenty of water for their climb.
Equestrians will enjoy exploring the rugged wilderness terrain on horseback. On horseback, ride past the many small caves scattered throughout the Clark Mountains.
Pass by vegetation that is prominent to the Mojave Desert including Joshua trees, junipers, pinyon, and even cactus in some areas. Find a scenic spot to rest or have a picnic. Equestrians will need to bring water and weed-free feed for their horses.
Rockhounding, or the collection of rocks, is permitted on BLM land. With caves and a history of mining near the area, there is plenty to find throughout the wilderness.
As you explore Mesquite Wilderness on foot, on horseback, or climbing, keep an eye out for what you may find. Visitors often find petrified wood, fossils, geodes, and many more treasures in the wilderness area. While rockhounding is permitted, any findings must be for personal use only and not sold.
The Mesquite Wilderness provides a habitat for many different types of species, most of which aren't uncommon to the Mojave Desert.
The southwestern end of the wilderness is a critical habitat for the conservation of desert tortoises. Bighorn sheep have been sighted among the rocky cliffs throughout the wilderness. Roadrunners, prairie falcons, and golden eagles are often sighted by birding enthusiasts. Many lizards can be seen throughout the wilderness and visitors will want to be sure not to disturb any rattlesnakes resting near rocks and crevices.
The desert wildlife at Mesquite Wilderness brings hunters to the area. Hunters seek many types of animals during a hunt. Some of the most commonly hunted animals in the wilderness include bighorn sheep, coyote, and quail.
While hunting is permitted on BLM land, hunting regulations at Mesquite Wilderness are enforced by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Tags and permits may be required. Be sure to check hunting rules and guidelines before your visit!