Sheephole Valley Wilderness
Guide

Introduction

If you find yourself longing for your next RV adventure, why not plan a visit to California's Sheephole Valley Wilderness? It's a wonderful place for a relaxing getaway.

Sheephole Valley Wilderness is a Bureau of Land Management property that is located near Twenty-Nine Palms, California. Designated a national wilderness in 1994, this popular outdoor haven consists of 188,169 acres of naturally landscaped grounds that are ripe for families to explore. Situated within the Mojave Desert region, this recreational center is heavily marked by granite boulders that are common to the area.

Sheephole Valley Wilderness sees steep rises in elevation due to the two mountain ranges found on the property: the Sheephole and Calumet Mountains. The Sheephole Mountains are bigger and more challenging to ascend, rising to a height of 4,613 feet above sea level. The Calumet Mountain range is slightly lower at 3,732 feet. The valley where the wilderness rests is located between the two mountainous regions.

The valley reaches a low point of 1,832 feet. Located in this section are two small lake beds which are now dry. Sheephole Valley Wilderness is rich in sand dunes and supports a variety of plant life including creosote bush and desert scrub. Since the land is heavy in salt, plants that can tolerate these conditions such as pickleweed, inkweed, and saltbush are the only vegetation that thrives here.

Sheephole Valley Wilderness is a haven for many varieties of wildlife commonly seen in desert locales such as bighorn sheep, the desert tortoise, coyotes, jackrabbits, and more. Snakes and lizards are also often found here.

Dispersed camping is permitted directly on the grounds of this much-loved wilderness area. Several area campgrounds also offer RV and tent camping year-round for families to enjoy.

For a fantastic vacation you'll not soon forget, plan a trip to Sheephole Valley Wilderness. You'll have the time of your life!

RV Rentals in Sheephole Valley Wilderness

Transportation

Driving

Located in San Bernardino County outside the town of Twenty-Nine Palms, California, Sheephole Valley Wilderness can be accessed from Highway 62. This two-lane cement highway is flat and runs through a long stretch of arid desert. To reach the wilderness from the main highway, travelers will need to move onto a series of dirt roads just past several microwave towers. There is a parking area found at the end of the diagonal dirt road. Travelers will need to navigate the remainder of the distance to the wilderness grounds on foot.

The dirt roads are comprised of dense sand and are best-suited to vehicles with four-wheel-drive. Exercise caution when these paths are wet.

Parking

There is a parking area located at the end of the diagonal dirt road just before the hiking access to Sheephole Valley Wilderness. Travelers can safely leave their cars, RVs, and trailers here.

Public Transportation

There is no public transportation available to Sheephole Valley Wilderness.

Campgrounds and parking in Sheephole Valley Wilderness

Campsites in Sheephole Valley Wilderness

Reservations camping

Sheep Pass Campground

Sheep Pass Group Campground is located in Joshua Tree National Park. This camping facility is home to six campsites that are suited to group camping. Both RVs and tents are permitted. Reservations are required.

Those who choose to camp here should be advised that there is no water access on the premises. RV and tent campers must bring water for drinking, bathing, and cooking with them.

A very remote area, there are no on-site amenities provided at this campground other than vault toilets.

This camping facility is open year-round for RV and tent camping. It is one of three campgrounds found on the premises.

First-come first-served

Blue Cloud Camping Area

Blue Cloud Camping Area is a BLM property that permits RV and tent camping in the fall, winter, and spring months each year.

This campground offers primitive-style camping with each site available on a first-come, first-served basis. The campsites found at Blue Cloud Camping Area are typically used by RV campers unable to obtain a site at the popular Colorado River Resorts.

There is a maximum length stay of 14 days.

One of the main attractions of this campground is its nearness to the city of Parker, Arizona. The Whipple Mountains Wilderness Area is also located within driving distance.

There are no amenities provided at this campground; however, there are many fun things to do here including camping, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, photography, and wildlife viewing.

Hidden Valley Campground

Hidden Valley Campground is found on the grounds of Joshua Tree National Park. This camping facility is open from June through August yearly for RV and tent camping. Each site is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

There are 44 sites available at this popular camping locale. The only on-site amenity is a vault toilet for public use.

There are many picnic areas found throughout the grounds. Some of the most beloved activities at Hidden Valley Campground include hiking, stargazing, biking, wildlife viewing, and photography.

Seasonal activities in Sheephole Valley Wilderness

In-Season

Joshua Tree National Park

Located next to Sheephole Valley Wilderness is the popular Joshua Tree National Park. The region supports two different ecological structures that are common to desert climates.

Many different plants and animals make this beloved national park their home, making it a great place to visit with a camera in hand to record the unusual findings found therein.

Joshua Tree National Park is renowned for its incredible stargazing opportunities. It is also an area that is rich in cultural significance.

Among the most popular activities at this national treasure include hiking, picnicking, stargazing, wildlife viewing, photography, and camping.

There are nine undeveloped campgrounds found on the premises of Joshua Tree National Park, making it the ideal spot to do some primitive-style camping.

The Glass Outhouse Art Gallery

The Glass Outhouse Art Gallery is found on Thunder Road in Twenty-Nine Palms, California. Open from 12 PM-5 PM daily, visitors may enjoy the sights at this unusual spot year-round with the exception of the months of August and September.

An out of the way little spot, a trip to the Glass Outhouse Art Gallery is well worth the effort. A small structure in the heart of the desert, this eclectic art gallery showcases glass sculptures from local artists both inside and outside the one on-premise building.

Once per month, there are lectures and exhibits by a selected regional artisan for visitors to enjoy.

Be sure to bring along lots of drinking water if you plan to spend much time outdoors enjoying the exhibits found there.

Old Schoolhouse Museum

The Old Schoolhouse Museum is situated in nearby Chino, California. This former education center was built in 1888 in a different location to its current residence. When the school closed in 1894, the building was subsequently moved to a new location. It was later moved again in 1914 to its final resting place. The Eastside Thimble Club obtained the building in 1925. The club's intentions for the building included meetings and social events. Recognizing its historical significance to the community, the club donated the property to the Chino Valley Historical Society in 1976. 1982 saw the property reopened as a museum dedicated to the preservation of its former purpose: a school.

Off-Season

Samuelson's Rocks

Found within Joshua Tree National Park is an interesting attraction known as Samuelson's Rocks. Travel to this locale involves some hiking over rugged terrain, so families should come prepared with good hiking shoes and lots of water.
The rock collection is named for John Samuelson, a man who was renowned for many things including being a prospector, a sailor, and a murderer. Mr. Samuelson originally hailed from Sweden.
An unusual character, Mr. Samuelson delighted in sharing his story. He asserted that he was kidnapped during a stint in Capetown and was subsequently shipwrecked on an unusual island. Here, under the captivity of some natives, Mr. Samuelson claimed he encountered a "monkey-man" of unusual appearance, but that spoke English. Among his other assertions were ants that guarded reserves of gold and a love interest. Since the proposed love interest was a relative of his captors, Mr. Samuelson declared that he was required to eat a substance referred to as the "bread of forgetting." He maintained that this food made him quite ill and necessitated a move to a different locale.
Mr. Samuelson's later plans brought him to the region which is now known as Joshua Tree National Park where he found employment on a ranch.
The rocks found at this location were collected by Mr. Samuelson then imprinted with his own personal beliefs regarding life and political activities. Mr. Samuelson became involved in a land dispute that resulted in the death of two men. He was later declared mentally unstable and committed to a local sanitarium. A true adventurer, Mr. Samuelson escaped hospitalization but was killed during an unfortunate accident in 1954. Today, the rocks stand in their original place, bearing witness to this unusual man.



Wonderland Ranch and Wall Street Mill

Wonderland Ranch and Wall Street Mill have an interesting history that makes them well worth a visit. Found on the grounds of Joshua Tree National Park, this popular property was once a beloved gathering place for miners in search of gold on the grounds. Today, many ruins remain from their prospecting attempts.

Wonderland Ranch and Wall Street Mill are connected to each other by a path. Wall Street Mill was built by Bill Keys and was highly efficient at processing ore to mine silver and gold.

The mill became a point of controversy, leading to a fatal argument between Keys and his neighbor. Proud of his actions, Mr. Keys built a small monument recognizing what he viewed as the protection of his property. The original marker was removed after it was the subject of vandalism; however, a new sign now denotes this spot.

Wonderland Ranch rests nearby and is now a mass of ruins. The dwelling is earmarked by its distinctive pink color which stood out against the desert landscape comprised of shades of brown and green.

Sunvale Village

Sunvale Village is found just off a dirt road. This unique village in the heart of the desert is dedicated to old toys that have fallen into disuse.

The artist responsible for the collection refers to the abandoned toys as "smalls." These items have been carefully arranged to provide a statement on important issues of the day including the environment, gender identity, politics, and more.

Most of the toys used in the exhibits were obtained from abandoned properties or dumps. Each of the items displays its own unique tale regarding its past life and subsequent transition to the village.

Sunvale Village was first developed in 2017.