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Sawtooth Mountains Wilderness

General Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws


The United States Congress designated the Sawtooth Mountains Wilderness (map) in 1994 and it now has a total of 33,772 acres. All of this wilderness is located in California and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.


Ridges extend like fingers from the Laguna Mountains east to become Sawtooth Mountains Wilderness, with elevations from 5,600 feet down to 1,400 feet. Valleys between the ridges unfold to become the desert alluvial fans of Vallecito Valley, Inner Pasture, and Canebrake Canyon. Vegetation transforms from dense chaparral at the higher elevations of the Lagunas to low desert creosote brush. More than 200 plant species have been identified here, many of them under consideration for threatened or endangered status. Although peninsular bighorn sheep once lived here, they are now transient visitors. You may see San Diego horned lizards, spotted bats, and willow flycatchers. Golden eagles, prairie falcons, Cooper's hawks, and other raptors spread their wings overhead.

State Route 2 runs near the northern boundary, but private land prevents legal access from that direction. The Pepperwood Height Trail from the south provides five miles of relatively easy foot or horse access. Springs may supply water.

Planning to Visit the Sawtooth Mountains 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 Sawtooth Mountains 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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