Trilobite Wilderness


A beautiful place located near Joshua Tree National Park is the Trilobite Wilderness. This area surrounds the Marble Mountains and is one of the most beautiful areas in California. You'll see brown and yellow sandstone peaks, roaring mountains, and dense forest. This area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and consists of nearly 40,000 acres. There are a variety of different scrub bushes and cacti in the area. Many people who visit the Trilobite Wilderness like to enjoy a day of hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, and wildlife viewing.

Speaking of wildlife, you are likely to see animals such as quails, roadrunners, coyotes, and rattlesnakes. One of the most commonly seen animals is bighorn sheep. There are also conveniently several nearby campgrounds where you can relax and get some rest after a long day of exploring the Trilobite Wilderness. It is part of the Mojave National Preserve, and summer there is incredibly hot. Winters are tolerable and you won't get any snow piling up in the area. If you want to visit a beautiful place near Joshua Tree, but also want to avoid the crowd, the Trilobite Wilderness is a great place to spend your time.

RV Rentals in Trilobite Wilderness



Because the Trilobite Wilderness is located so close to popular areas in California such as Joshua Tree National Park, the Mojave National Preserve, and Sheephole Valley Wilderness, it's not hard to find. It is located in Essex, California and both locals and visitors can easily take Interstate 40 to get there. Needles, California is not too far away and there you will be able to easily get a map of the Trilobite Wilderness from the Bureau of Land Management field office.

No matter what size vehicle you are driving, you shouldn't have any trouble getting to the Trilobite Wilderness. All roads in the area are paved and signs lead you to the entrance. Cell phone reception is fairly decent in the area, which allows you to easily use a GPS. Once you arrive you will no longer see paved roads, as the entire wilderness is gravel. There are two main ways visitors get around once they've arrived: on foot or horseback. It is a good idea to wear hiking boots, as the terrain can quickly change due to the nearby mountain range.


Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Trilobite Wilderness

Campsites in Trilobite Wilderness

Reservations camping

Black Canyon Group and Equestrian Campground

The second campground that is near the Trilobite Wilderness is the Black Canyon Group and Equestrian Campground. As you can tell by the title, this campground is best for those bringing horses along or camping with a large group of people. There you will find vault toilets, potable water, and trash cans. Unlike Mid Hills Campground, Black Canyon Group and Equestrian Campground is available on a reservation-only basis.

It is open all year round for your convenience. Each of the campsites there can fit up to eight people and two vehicles. There is a fire pit, picnic shelter, and a grill for the entire campground to share. If you're camping with a group of 15 people or more, you are required to have a permit to camp in this campground while visiting the Trilobite Wilderness. It's an amazing place to rest your head and gain some strength for another day of exploration!

Cottonwood Campground

A campground that has plenty of campsites for everybody is Cottonwood Campground. In total there are 62 campsites available. It is important to note that in order to camp here, you'll need a reservation if you're planning on coming between the end of August and the beginning of May. Once in a while, throughout summer Cottonwood Campgrounds will allow camping without a reservation. Each campsite has a fire ring and a picnic table for visitors to use.

There is also drinking water and flush toilets available for your convenience. If you're camping in an RV, you may want to know that there are no hookups available and generator use is restricted to specific hours. Unlike Mid Hills Campground, Cottonwood Campground can be quite busy due to its proximity to Joshua Tree National Park. If you're camping with a large group or you're looking for a place that has a handful of amenities, Cottonwood Campground is a great option for people visiting the Trilobite Wilderness.

First-come first-served

Mid Hills Campground

One of the best campgrounds near the Trilobite Wilderness is Mid Hills Campground. If you're a solo camper, this may be the best place for you to stay as it is extremely quiet and remote. You are able to camp in a trailer, a tent, or an RV. All 26 campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire pit available.

You'll also have access to a barbecue grill and vault toilets. One reason people stay at Mid Hills Campground is all of the activities available. There are equestrian trails, hiking trails, and picnicking areas. If you're towing an off-highway vehicle, there are areas for you to ride as well. If you're looking for a campground that won't have a lot of people and isn't that crowded, Mid Hills Campground is a great option for you when visiting the Trilobite Wilderness.

Seasonal activities in Trilobite Wilderness


Horseback Riding

Many people who visit the Trilobite Wilderness enjoy an afternoon or weekend of horseback riding. This is a great way to get a unique perspective of the Trilobite Wilderness. Unfortunately, there are no stables that rent out horses in the area, meaning you must bring your own horse and proper gear.

You'll also enjoy that there are a variety of equestrian campgrounds that are relatively close to the Trilobite Wilderness. Make sure to keep your horses hydrated at all times.


If you enjoy immersing yourself in nature, backpacking may be a great activity for you. It's similar to hiking except you carry around a backpack with all of the necessities you'll need. This includes water, food, maps, cooking instruments, and survival gear.

Backpacking is a great activity for someone looking for an adrenaline rush. The backpacks are heavy which also makes this a great work out. If you're looking to explore the mountains and hills, while wanting the ability to have a long hike, backpacking is for you.


Speaking of, hiking is another one of the most popular activities people enjoy at the Trilobite Wilderness. Thankfully, because there is a variety of terrain in the area, there is a spot that everyone can hike.

If you're looking for a more rigorous climb, you will have that available. There are also gravel trails that are built for people looking for a casual stroll in the Trilobite Wilderness. This is a great activity for someone who loves the outdoors!


Wildlife Viewing

When it comes to animals, just about every visitor of the Trilobite Wilderness enjoys taking time to view the local wildlife in their natural habitat. This is one of the more relaxing activities that the whole family can take part in. There are small animals such as lizards, jackrabbits, rattlesnakes, and road runners in the area. You may see a bighorn sheep or mountain lion as well. You could be beneficial to bring a pair of binoculars to see the birds soaring about.


An off-season activity that many people enjoy when visiting the Trilobite Wilderness is hunting. It is absolutely necessary that you have the proper permits and licenses for hunting in the state of California before you open fire.

There are a variety of different types of animals in the area that you may be able to hunt. More commonly seen are mountain lions, deer, bighorn sheep, and bobcats. California does have a lot of land where hunting is prohibited. Be sure to check online before your hunting trip.


Another laid-back activity that the whole family can enjoy is photography. You don't need a large professional camera to enjoy doing this. Whether you use the camera built into your smartphone or bring a handful of disposable cameras, there is a lot to photograph. This is also a great way to freeze a moment in time during your vacation to bring back home as memorabilia. the Trilobite Wilderness offers plenty of beautiful natural backdrops for your photos.