The Stateline Wilderness is a seven-thousand acre BLM property in San Bernardino County, close to the Californian border with the state of Nevada. The outstanding feature of the wilderness is the grey and rugged slopes of the eastern end of the Clark Mountain Range. The rest of the mountain range lies within the boundaries of the Mojave National Preserve to the south-west. The stark dolomite peaks are fronted by sweeping bajadas covered with shrubs and cacti including Mojave yucca, creosote bushes and the desert icon, the Joshua Tree. On the higher slopes, there are some areas with sparse woodlands of juniper and pinyon pines that provide a habitat for the few species of mammals, birds, and reptiles in the wilderness.
There are limited recreational activities within the Stateline Wilderness, with most visitors heading there to take a quiet, solitary hike through the desert environment or spend the night in a tent after a session of star-gazing. While the wilderness is remote, it's surrounded by multiple national parks and conservation areas that provide more outdoor recreation opportunities. The Sloan Canyon and the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Areas are both to the north-east of the wilderness, just across the state line with Nevada, and the Nopah Range Wilderness plus California's Death Valley National Park are located to the north-west. There are also lots of exciting things to see and do around the wilderness which include everything from heart-stopping roller coasters to land sailing, kite buggying, military museums and even the car of the infamous outlaws, Bonnie and Clyde.
If you've been enjoying the bright lights and casinos of Las Vegas, it might be hard to imagine that such a stark and remote location like the Stateline Wilderness is just one hour's drive away over in California. But that is all it is. Hit the I-15 southbound out of the city and you'll have a straight run down south to the town of Primm - although in your rig, no matter what size it is, that's about as far as you will get. The only road that leads to the wilderness boundary is a rough dirt track that shouldn't be tackled in anything less than a four by four. So the best thing to do, before going there to explore, is pitch up at your chosen campground then change vehicles.
If you're heading northwards to the Stateline Wilderness after RV camping in the Angeles National Forest, expect to have a relatively decent run on the I 15 northbound that will have you behind the wheel for around three hours depending on where you've decided to pitch camp. If you've been over on the Lost Coast of California enjoying a breath of sea air while admiring the Rocks and Islands Wilderness in the King Range National Conservation Area, you're going to be on the road for a good thirteen hours.
If you want to take an overnight break, try the scenic route which will take you through the Tahoe National Forest and down the US 95, past the Stanislaus National Forest, the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and the Sierra National Forest all of which have great campgrounds where you can pitch up for the night before continuing your journey the next morning.
One of the best campgrounds to pitch at for visiting the Stateline Wilderness is the Red Rock Canyon Campground in the Red Rock Canyon NCA in Nevada. The site is just over one hour's drive south on the I 15 from Primm. The campground has over fifty campsites for RVs which can cater for up to two vehicles and a group of ten people as well as six smaller pitches for single rigs. The road into the campground is asphalted, but inside it has a wide, single-lane, gravel-surfaced road leading past the unpaved pitches. Maximum vehicle length is restricted to forty-five feet.
All of the campsites are furnished with picnic tables, some shaded by a shelter, fire rings, and grills. There are no utility hook-ups at any of the pitches and on-site amenities are limited to drinking water, vault toilets, and trash receptacles. The campground closes during the months of July and August due to the area's extreme temperatures. The rest of the year is classified as peak season and campsites must be reserved via the recreation.gov website prior to arrival. Once at the site all campers must display their overnight camping permit on their vehicle.
There are no marked trails running through the Stateline Wilderness, so hiking there means trekking over the expanses of bajadas through the creosote bushes. It's a desert environment and can get very hot during the summer months, so if you're heading that way then be sure to carry more water than you think you'll need.
You'll need to keep a wary eye and ear out for slumbering rattlesnakes too as there's a large population in the wilderness. The only way to get close up to one is through the telescopic lens of your camera; otherwise, it's advisable to give them a wide berth.
There's not a great deal of wildlife roaming in the Stateline Wilderness due to the lack of permanent water sources. The most prolific inhabitants belong to the reptile family, so you'll definitely spot a lizard or two scuttling over the rocks as well as that ever-present Mojave Desert inhabitant, the rattlesnake.
There are some small mammals like rabbits, squirrels, and rats on the lower slopes of the Clark Mountains and if you're lucky you could see a roadrunner racing over the bajada. Bird watchers might spot a raptor or two or even a turkey vulture circling over the remains of a creature that didn't survive the arid conditions.
Just south-east of the Stateline Wilderness in the town of Primm in Nevada is an enormous roller coaster that, when it was first built, was one of the tallest in the world. The Desperado Roller Coaster is located in the Buffalo Bill's Hotel and Casino inside the Primm Valley Resort and has a mega-drop of over two-hundred and twenty feet.
Whizz down the roller coaster and you'll be experiencing the pull of 4 Gs for more than two minutes. It's a ride that will definitely get your adrenaline flowing.
Ivanpah Lake is a dry lake located south of the Stateline Wilderness and while there's no water for fishing or boating at the lake, it's one of the top places to go in California for land sailing and kite buggying. At the lake there are over thirteen square miles of open terrains to race over under sail.
If you don't want to participate but would rather spectate, head there at the end of March to see the competitors in America's Land Sailing championship doing their stuff at up to fifty-five miles per hour.
Stop off on your way to the Stateline Wilderness to see a little of the US's darker history. In the reception of Whiskey Pete's Hotel and Casino in Primm, which you'll need to drive by to get to the wilderness boundary, you'll find Bonnie & Clyde's Death Car. The vintage Ford is riddled with bullet holes from the ambush that killed the notorious outlaws, but otherwise well-conserved for a vehicle dating from the 1930s.
To discover the history of the region where the Stateline Wilderness is located, make the one-hour drive north to Shoshone to visit the museum there. The Shoshone Museum has a huge collection of interesting artifacts relating to the area's past including some unusual mammoth fossils as well as exhibitions on the railroad, wildlife, minerals, mining and bootlegging.