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Jacumba Wilderness

General Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws Images
A string of four palm trees line the base of a small grassy basin, surrounded by jagged brown rock on all sides.
Library image #367: View looking down a palm lined canyon


The United States Congress designated the Jacumba Wilderness (map) in 1994 and it now has a total of 31,358 acres. All of this wilderness is located in California and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.


On the eastern flank of California's coastal peninsular ranges, the Jacumba Mountains often appear as a fantastic jumble of granitic rock pushed up by faults in long-gone days. The mountains extend into Mexico, and the southern boundary of the Wilderness is the international border. A broad range, the Jacumbas are really a series of almost parallel ridges separating valleys, with each ridge successively lower than the next, forming a great staircase descending eastward into the Colorado Desert.

Four transitional zones lie within the Wilderness. The western portion, the region near Smugglers Cave, provides homes for mule deer, rare peninsular bighorn sheep, golden eagles, and kangaroo rats. The Myers Valley-Pinto Canyon portion contains small oases of California fan palms. A mountainous ridge separates Myers from Davies Valley, the largest valley in the Wilderness, near the middle of the area, with large stretches of surface cobbles covering the ground. The eastern mountains enclose Skull Valley, a secluded basin with a dry lake.

An eight-mile-long trail, often faint, follows Davies Valley with two opportunities to loop back to the start. Bring a map.

Planning to Visit the Jacumba Wilderness?

Leave No Trace

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Jacumba Wilderness.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.

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