The United States Congress designated the Piute Mountains Wilderness (map
) in 1994 and it now has a total of 48,080 acres
All of this wilderness is located in California
and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
This wilderness area consists of the Piute Mountains and the surrounding bajadas and extensive flat aprons of alluvium. The elevations within the wilderness range from 2,000 to 4,132 feet. The Piute Mountains exhibit strong color contrast and texture that vary from very angular, jagged volcanics to rounded, smooth granite hills; and the ridges are cut by numerous canyons and washes. Dominant vegetation is typical of much of the Mojave Desert, consisting of creosote bush scrub, which gradually changes into a mixed desert scrub at higher elevations. The dry washes are characterized by catclaw acacia, smoketree, cheesebush, desert lavender, little-leaf ratany, and desert almond. Wildlife is also 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 transient ranges for mule deer and bighorn sheep, as the Piute Mountains are too small and too sparsely watered to accommodate permanent populations. Prairie falcon eyries are known to exist within the wilderness area. The large bajadas provide excellent habitat for the threatened desert tortoise; the entire wilderness area has been identified as critical habitat for the desert tortoise.