Whipple Mountains Wilderness
Guide

Introduction

Whipple Mountains Wilderness is located just outside of San Bernardino, California. It is right by the Mojave trails as well as Old Woman Mountains. Visiting Whipple Mountains Wilderness will leave you surrounded by a variety of different landscapes. You will see deep canyons, flat valleys, rocky terrain, and of course, Whipple Mountains. This area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management as well as the Havasu Field Office.

It was established in 1994 and has been well-maintained ever since. It is home to several different animals including lizards, snakes, falcons, coyotes, and bighorn sheep. Whipple Mountains Wilderness takes up over 75,000 acres of California. There are plenty of different cacti, shrubs, and trees to see during your visit.

People who travel to Whipple Mountains Wilderness get to enjoy a number of fun outdoor activities such as photography, backpacking, and horseback riding. There are quite a few campgrounds nearby that are inexpensive and provide a peaceful place to rest up after a long day exploring Whipple Mountains Wilderness. Taking a trip here will be fun for the whole family and there are breathtaking views just about everywhere you look.

RV Rentals in Whipple Mountains Wilderness

Transportation

Driving

One of the closest cities to Whipple Mountains Wilderness is Needles, California. If you're visiting from that area, Highway 95 South to BLM Route NS683 will easily lead you straight to the wilderness. BLM Route NS520 is another popular route that people take. You can't miss the entrance to Whipple Mountains Wilderness, as there is a kiosk on the right side letting you know that you've arrived.

Because this BLM managed area is over 75,000 acres, there are several ways to get there. None of the routes have terribly winding roads or are hard to access areas for large vehicles. This will be music to your ears if you're planning on renting an RV for your trip! It is important to note that cell phone reception tends to come and go for travelers in this area of California.

For this reason, it's a good idea to pack a physical map with you. Once you've turned into the entrance of Whipple Mountains Wilderness you will be driving on gravel roads from then on. Motor vehicles of any kind are prohibited in the wilderness once you're parked. That being said, you can get around the Whipple Mountains on foot or on a mountain bike.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Whipple Mountains Wilderness

Campsites in Whipple Mountains Wilderness

Reservations camping

Cottonwood Campground

Cottonwood Campground has 62 campsites available for campers. All 62 campsites are equipped with a fire ring and a picnic table. If you're camping between the end of August through the month of May, a reservation is required. Occasionally, Cottonwood Campground allows campers to visit without a reservation from the middle of June until the start of September.

This campground has drinking water and flush toilets available for campers, as well as a public grill for the entire campsite to use. Campers are allowed to have two campsites total with two vehicles per site. There are no RV hookups and generator use is only allowed during certain hours. Due to how close Cottonwood Campground is to Joshua tree it can be quite busy, but you sacrifice the privacy for beautiful views. Visitors staying here often enjoy stargazing during the evening. During the day, hiking and backpacking or common activities.

Black Canyon Group and Equestrian Campground

Last but not least is the Black Canyon Group and Equestrian Campground. For those visiting Whipple Mountains Wilderness, this campground is perfect if you have a large group. This campground has potable water, trash bins, and vault toilets. Campsites are only available by reservation. When camping here, you can have a group of up to eight people per campsite. There is also a maximum of two vehicles per campsite. You will have access to a fire pit, a grill, and a picnic shelter.

The group campsites and equestrian campsites are separate. If you're traveling with horses, you can use the equestrian campsites, but there are no picnic tables available. There is a public horse corral for you to use during your visit. Black Canyon Group and Equestrian Campground do require a permit if you're camping with more than 15 people. This is a great place to rest during your visit to the Whipple Mountains Wilderness.

First-come first-served

Mid Hills Campground

Mid Hills Campground is perfect for people looking for a quiet and peaceful place to stay. Camping is available for RVs, trailers, and tent campers. Mid Hills Campground has sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are 26 campsites in total. Mid Hills Campground offers quite a few amenities despite being a rather dispersed campground.

You will have a barbecue grill, vault toilets, picnic tables, fire rings, and fire pits at your disposal. If you're camping with horses, you'll appreciate that this campground also has an equestrian trail. Nearby campgrounds have potable water if needed. Visitors rave about all of the activities to do in the area. Hiking, horseback riding, driving off-highway vehicles, and picnicking are some of the more common activities. If you're looking to camp somewhere that isn't crowded or full of loud families, Mid Hills Campground is for you.

Seasonal activities in Whipple Mountains Wilderness

In-Season

Backpacking

Do you enjoy hiking around in nature with all of your necessities on your back? If so, you may enjoy a bit of backpacking during your visit to Whipple Mountains Wilderness.

Backpacking is meant for people who have experience with the great outdoors. The backpacks are filled with essential belongings such as food, survival gear, maps, cooking instruments, and more. These can get quite heavy, which makes backpacking an adult-only activity. Because of the area, you may want to make sure that you bring animal repellant with you for safety measures.

Hiking

Similar to backpacking, Whipple Mountains Wilderness offers plenty of room for people who enjoy your hike. That being said, there are a variety of different areas to hike in the wilderness.

If you're looking for something more intense, there is steep and rocky terrain for you. On the opposite end of things, there are also areas for people to enjoy a brisk walk through nature. All of Whipple Mountains Wilderness is gravel so it may be in your best interest to wear proper hiking boots.

Horseback Riding

There are several convenient horseback riding trails in and around Whipple Mountains Wilderness. As you will read below, there are many equestrian campgrounds nearby. It is important that you bring enough water for your horses as the weather in the area can get quite warm. This is a great way to see the beautiful landscape that Whipple Mountains Wilderness has to offer.

Off-Season

Hunting

When it comes to off-season activities, hunting is one of the more popular options. Whether you're a resident of California or visiting from out of state, you will need the proper licenses and certifications in order to hunt in and around Whipple Mountains Wilderness. There are several different types of animals in the area such as bobcats, mountain lions, cougars, deer, and bighorn sheep. It is important to note that there are protected areas where hunting is prohibited.

Wildlife Viewing

Seeing animals in their natural habitat is one of the great wilderness experiences. This is a fun laid-back activity that you can enjoy with anyone while visiting the Whipple Mountains Wilderness. You might see rattlesnakes, lizards, or road runners.

There are bigger animals such as black-tailed jackrabbits, bighorn sheep, and kangaroo rats as well. If you're interested in seeing golden eagles, falcons, or red-tailed hawks, be sure to bring a pair of binoculars.

Photography

If you're traveling with someone creative, a great off-season activity that they may enjoy is photography. Whether you're using the camera on your phone, an expensive DSLR, or even a disposable camera, taking photos is a great way to remember your trip to California.

You can take photos of animals, your friends that you're traveling with, or the beautiful landscape. This is a fun activity for kids and is an awesome way to show people back home a little snippet of your travels.

Find the perfect campsite.