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Bigelow Cholla Garden Wilderness

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Photograph taken in  the Bigelow Cholla Garden Wilderness
Library image #3410: A shot of cactuses in a red desert, with very muted colors.


The United States Congress designated the Bigelow Cholla Garden Wilderness (map) in 1994 and it now has a total of 14,645 acres. All of this wilderness is located in California and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.


The Biglow Cholla Garden Wilderness lies in the northern end of the Sacramento Mountains. The mountains consist of very dark, highly eroded volcanic rock. Elevations range from 1,400 feet to 3,314 feet atop Bannock Peak. This wilderness gets its name from the fact that the densest concentration of Bigelow cholla cactus in the California Desert is found within the wilderness and the surrounding area. The vegetation types are predominantly creosote bush desert scrub and desert wash scrub. Wildlife is typical for the Mojave Desert; including coyote, black-tailed jackrabbits, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, quail, roadrunners, rattlesnakes, and several species of lizards. The area provides habitat for migrating desert bighorn sheep, and the western half of the wilderness area provides critical habitat for the threatened desert tortoise.

Planning to Visit the Bigelow Cholla Garden 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 Bigelow Cholla Garden 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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