Sylvania Mountains Wilderness
Guide

Introduction

In southeastern California, you will find Sylvania Mountains Wilderness. It was designated in 1984 and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Sylvania Mountains Wilderness takes up nearly 19,000 acres and is made up of a variety of different landscapes. It is located in both California and Nevada due to its location on the state borders. It consists of everything from hot vast deserts to towering mountains with peaks of over 7,000 feet.

There is a variety of different vegetation as well. Tall pine and juniper trees paint the forest with different shades of green, while canyon walls give off shades of orange and red. Visitors of the Sylvania Mountains Wilderness take part in several different types of activities. No matter if you're looking for something laid back or an adrenaline rush, there's something for you.

If you're bringing the whole family, you might enjoy wilderness viewing in hopes of seeing big-horned sheep, deer, and plenty of different birds. Another great thing about the area is that there are numerous campgrounds nearby. You can enjoy a bit of stargazing and rest after a long day of adventures around Sylvania Mountains Wilderness.

RV Rentals in Sylvania Mountains Wilderness

Transportation

Driving

Thankfully, Sylvania Mountains Wilderness is located on the border of California and Nevada. This makes it easier for people to access the wilderness. Several mountains are surrounding the area. The drive to Sylvania Mountains Wilderness may take extra time due to the winding mountain roads. It is advised for RVs and vehicles pulling trailers to go extra slow around these parts. If you're coming from the north near the White Mountains, you will have a little easier access to the wilderness.

One thing to note is that because the area is so rich in high peaks, there is little to no cell phone coverage. Because of this, you may want to print out a physical map of directions before you head out the door. This can come in handy, especially when running into last-minute detours or road closures. Once you reach the wilderness, the majority of transportation is done either on foot or horseback.

The terrain varies quite a bit, but proper hiking boots can make things a lot easier. When it comes to transportation for the nearby campgrounds, the majority of them have paved roads that lead to the campground and gravel roads within the campground.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Sylvania Mountains Wilderness

Campsites in Sylvania Mountains Wilderness

First-come first-served

Afton Campground Campground

A great campground to stay at while visiting Sylvania Mountains Wilderness is Afton Campground. This is a campground that is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Upon arriving, you'll see 22 campsites available that can be used by either RV or tent campers. Each site has its fire pit and picnic table. This campground does have piped water available, so you should bring your own supply. As a guest, you can have eight people and up to two vehicles per campsite.

These campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you're bringing a trailer or RV, there is a maximum length of 30 feet. Note that you will not find any RV hookups available. Close to each campsite is a pot toilet that you can use. One of the best things about this campground is that you can check in and check out on your schedule. While staying at Afton Campground campground, you will be surrounded by mountains and get to fall asleep to the sound of the lapping waters on the nearby river.

Owl Canyon Campground

If you're driving a longer RV, you may want to check out Owl Canyon Campground. There you will find a max length for RVs and trailers that are 85 feet long. This is another BLM campground that has campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are 22 campsites available, all without RV hookups. One of the things that you will find at each campsite is a picnic table along with a fire ring.

Owl Canyon Campground offers single tap water for your convenience. There are also vault toilets and nearby hiking trails to enjoy. Unfortunately, there are no showers available, but you will get beautiful sites of canyons, rivers, and rolling hills in exchange for the inconvenience. If you're looking for a great campsite to take photos, this is an amazing option for that as well. You'll be surrounded by colorful canyon walls that light up during sunrise and sunset. People who stay at Owl Canyon Campground enjoy horseback riding, looking for fossils, and watching the local wildlife.

Fossil Falls Campgrounds Recreation Site

Last but not least, you may enjoy a stay at Fossil Falls Campgrounds Recreation Site Campground recreation site. You'll find 11 beautiful campsites here that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For your convenience, there is a water pump and vault toilets available. Like other nearby campgrounds, it is suggested to bring your own water. Each one of the 11 campsites has a picnic table and fire pit grill that you can use.

Fossil Falls Campgrounds Recreation Sitecampground is best visited during the fall or winter, due to the intense California heat and lack of shade available at the campground. This is another great option for photographers as you will be surrounded by a lake and mountains in every direction, along with a river. Many campers enjoy a night of stargazing after the sun goes down. Lastly, there are a bunch of cool land formations to check out in the area.

Seasonal activities in Sylvania Mountains Wilderness

In-Season

Hiking

One of the most popular peak season activities that people enjoy when visiting Sylvania Mountains Wilderness is hiking. Though there aren't specific hiking trails for visitors to use, the entire wilderness is available!

There are a variety of different topography options for you to choose from. You can hike along the edges of the mountains, the depths of canyons, or drive a short distance to the nearby Pacific Crest Trail. Due to the terrain in the area, it is suggested that people wear proper safety hiking gear.

Environmental Education

Sylvania Mountains Wilderness also offers environmental education for its visitors. Many high school and college courses will take a field trip to the wilderness and other nearby mountain ranges. This is because there is a variety of different geography to study along with animals, vegetation, and even the weather.

This is a great way to learn something about the world around you. If you're traveling with kids, this can be a fun and educational activity. Who knows, maybe even adults will learn a thing or two!

Climbing

Many people enjoy climbing during their stay in the wilderness. If you've ever been to an indoor rock climbing facility, this is the real deal. Surrounded by nature, you will be able to rock climb on real cliffs, and once you reach the top you'll have a wonderful view of the wilderness.

Just like any other extreme sport, make sure you bring your gear and safety equipment such as a helmet.

Off-Season

Photography

If one thing is true about California, it is one of the most picturesque states in the country. Sylvania Mountains Wilderness does not lack photographic landscapes. Whether you're using the camera built into your smartphone or a professional digital camera, there are tons of different things for you to photograph.

You can use the beautiful landscape as a background for a photo of you and your friends, you can photograph animals in their natural habitat, and more. This is also a great way to remember your trip and bring memories home with you.

Wildlife Viewing

Speaking of animals, wildlife viewing at Sylvania Mountains Wilderness is a fun activity for a solo traveler or the whole family to enjoy. When visiting this area of California, you'll be able to see a variety of different animals such as bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, and black-tailed deer.

Kids will enjoy seeing the different amphibians and reptiles that are crawling around the wilderness. Make sure to pack your binoculars if you're interested in doing a bit of bird watching as well.

Horseback Riding

The last off-season activity that people enjoy while visiting Sylvania Mountains Wilderness is horseback riding. It is important to note that you must bring your horses as there are no stables around that allow you to rent a horse. There are thousands and thousands of acres for you to explore on horseback. This is a beautiful way to get around and see the wilderness. If you're planning a visit during the summer, it is crucial that you bring enough water for both yourself and your horse.