The United States Congress designated the Agua Tibia Wilderness (map
) in 1975 and it now has a total of 17,963 acres
All of this wilderness is located in California
and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service.
The steep, chaparral-covered mountains of Agua Tibia Wilderness give way to stands of fir, pine, and oak at higher elevations that rise above 4,400 feet on Agua Tibia Mountain and above 5,000 feet on Eagle Crag. Untouched by wildfire for what may be more than a century, some of the dense stands of chaparral have manzanita and red shank reaching higher than 20 feet. Although light snow may fall in winter, summer temperatures often exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit and water may be hard to find. The Dripping Springs Trail (about 6.8 miles long), part of approximately 25 miles of pathways, receives moderate human use and provides the main access to the area. The trail crosses boulder-strewn Arroyo Seco Creek and climbs Agua Tibia Mountain with splendid views of the mountains of southern California. From the crest of the mountain, the Palomar-McGee and Cutca Trails (about 5.5 miles) enters a forest, descends to Crosley Saddle, and continues south past Eagle Crag and into Cutca Valley, where it leaves the Wilderness. No overnight use of pack stock is permitted, and campfires, hibachis, and barbecues are not allowed. Groups are limited to 15 people. The western portion of the Wilderness is dry and seldom seen. In 2007 the Poomacha fire burned approximately 1,500 acres in the Agua Tibia Wilderness.