Old Woman Mountains Wilderness | Outdoorsy

Old Woman Mountains Wilderness
Guide

Introduction

Located in San Bernardino County, California, just outside the city of Needles, California, you will find Old Woman Mountains Wilderness. This is a massive area that is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. There are over 163,000 acres of land within the wilderness. Many people go here to enjoy the seclusion and spend time in nature.

If you like to stay active, you can go hiking, mountain biking, or backpacking. There are also less vigorous activities such as meditating or wildlife viewing. Old Woman Mountains Wilderness is made up of towering mountains and deep canyons. Because it is placed in between two deserts, the Mojave and the Lower Colorado deserts, the typography is quite unique in the area.

You will see a variety of different cacti and critters roaming about in their natural habitat. There are several campgrounds nearby where you can catch some rest in between all of your adventures at Old Woman Mountains Wilderness. Stargazing is a must in this area, due to the lack of pollution. Several people visit Old Woman Mountains Wilderness specifically to view meteor showers!

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Camping Accommodations

30'
Max RV length
30'
Max trailer Length
Electrical hookup
Water hookup
Generator use
Food storage
Sewer hookup
Dogs & cats

RV Rentals in Old Woman Mountains Wilderness

Transportation

Driving

When visiting Old Woman Mountains Wilderness, you'll notice that the routes there are fairly easy to travel on. Since the wilderness is so large, you can access it from several directions. The elevation ranges from 800 feet to over 5,000 feet, giving you even more access points. Because Old Woman Mountains Wilderness is nestled in between the lower Colorado and Mojave deserts, you won't have to worry about driving through any snow or rain.

The wilderness itself is located in San Bernardino County in California. This is roughly 35 miles west of Needles, California. One of the more popular ways to get to Old Woman Mountains Wilderness is by taking the historic route 66. Because there are mountains all around you in this area, cell phone service can be quite scarce. For this reason, it might be a good idea to print off directions ahead of time.

You may also want to look up any road closures or detours to prevent any last-minute surprises on your drive. Whether you're in a compact car, RV, or camper van, you shouldn't have too much trouble navigating around the curves and sharp turns of the roads surrounding Old Woman Mountains Wilderness. Be sure to take your time and avoid riding your brakes on the way down the mountain.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Old Woman Mountains Wilderness

Campsites in Old Woman Mountains Wilderness

Reservations camping

Black Canyon Group and Equestrian Campground

If you have a large group of people or are traveling with horses, the Black Canyon Group and Equestrian Campground is an amazing place to stay for the weekend. This campground is available by reservation only. Each campsite can host eight people with a maximum of two vehicles.

There you will find potable water, vault toilets and trash bins for the entire campground to use. Each group campsite has a fire ring, picnic shelter with tables, and a grill. The equestrian campsites are similar, but there aren't any picnic tables, and there are horse corrals.

If you're camping with a group of more than 15 people, you will need to get a Special Use Permit to enjoy backcountry camping or RV camping. If you just want to use the camping facilities and not the equestrian facilities, you will not need a permit. If you're looking to get away from the city, Black Canyon Campground is a great option!

Cottonwood Campground

Last but not least, Cottonwood campground is available for those looking to camp between at the end of August through the end of May. The majority of the time you will need a reservation, but you might be able to get by without one during the summer months. Cottonwood campground is near Joshua Tree National Park and not too far from Old Woman Mountains Wilderness.

You will find 62 campsites when visiting Cottonwood Campground. There are fire rings and picnic tables at each campsite. Unfortunately, there are no hookups available for RV campers. For your convenience, there are flushable toilets and drinking water available. When you're not resting up from a long day at Old Woman Mountains Wilderness, you can enjoy spotting the wildlife throughout the campground. Many people spend time outdoors in the evening to experience some of the best stargazing.

The campground has a barbecue grill that is available for the entire campground to use. You are also allowed to use your generator outside of the quiet hours listed at the campground. Each camper is allowed to have two campsites and two vehicles for each campsite. This is overall a beautiful place to stay during your visit.

First-come first-served

Mid Hills Campground

Mid Hills Campground is open year-round for RV, tent, and trailer campers. There are 26 campsites available in this desert-like campground. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. While RV camping is allowed, some of the surrounding roads may be a bit difficult for extremely large vehicles to navigate.

At Mid Hills Campground you will have access to barbeque grills, fire rings, fire pits, picnic tables, vault toilets, and an equestrian trail. There is potable water at a nearby campground called Hole In The Wall Campground if needed. Many people choose to stay at Mid Hill Campground because of how remote and secluded it is.

If you're wanting to avoid crowded campsites and loud families, this might be right up your alley. When staying there you will have the opportunity to partake in several activities such as hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, stargazing, picnicking, riding OHVs, and more.

Seasonal activities in Old Woman Mountains Wilderness

In-Season

Hiking

There are several hiking trails available at Old Woman Mountains Wilderness. If you're interested in this activity, you may want to make sure you pack a pair of high-quality hiking boots. There are steep and rigorous trails available for those looking for a challenge.

There are also more calm and laid-back trails available. The trail ranges from lightly graveled to rocky and uneven. This is a great activity to get in a workout and explore the wilderness.

Horseback Riding

There are several horseback riding trails in the area. Many people bring their horses when visiting Old Woman Mountains Wilderness to enjoy a bit of horseback riding. Thankfully, several of the nearby campgrounds are equestrian-friendly.

The horseback riding trails are relaxed and easy for horses to travel on. This is a unique way to see the wilderness and spend time with one of your favorite animals. You may want to bring some extra water if you plan on traveling during the incredibly hot summer months.

Backpacking

Many people who enjoy hiking will also enjoy backpacking. Backpacking is a little more intense than hiking, as you have to carry around a somewhat heavy backpack with you during your whole trip.

In your backpack, you'll have a variety of things including food, water, cooking instruments, survival gear, maps, and more. Backpacking is not only a fun activity, but it's never a bad idea to carry important things such as a map or bear spray with you.

Off-Season

Wildlife Viewing

If you're interested in less vigorous activity, consider wildlife spotting while you're visiting Old Woman Mountains Wilderness. You'll be much more likely to see the various types of wildlife if you pack a pair of binoculars. There are a ton of different animals to see there. There are birds such as golden eagles, red-tailed hawk, and prairie falcon.

You will also see different types of lizards as well as rattlesnakes. When it comes to larger animals, bighorn sheep, cougars, coyotes black-tailed jackrabbits, kangaroo rats, even roadrunners are present there.

Photography

A great way to take a bit of your trip home with you is to break out a camera. You can pack a DSLR camera that professionals use or you can simply use the camera built-in to your smartphone. On your trip to Old Woman Mountains Wilderness, you'll come across a variety of different things to photograph.

Whether it's the unique vegetation, animals in their natural habitat, mountains, rock formations, or even those who you traveled with, this is a great laid-back activity to take part in.

Hunting

Another popular activity that takes place at Old Woman Mountains Wilderness is hunting. You must have the proper licenses and certifications necessary for the state of California.

Some of the larger animals you will see there are bighorn sheep, bobcats, and cougars. Be sure to clean up any shell casings that come from your weapon. You may also want to check online before hunting to see if any animals are protected in the area.