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Milpitas Wash Wilderness

General Location Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws
Photograph taken in  the Milpitas Wash Wilderness
John Dittli


The United States Congress designated the Milpitas Wash Wilderness (map) in 2019 and it now has a total of 17,250 acres. All of this wilderness is located in California and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.


The Milpitas Wash Wilderness is near the southern end of the Mule Mountains and the Opal Hill Mine. The landscape is primarily desert mountain foothills as well as wash and floodplain habitats. Visitors can see petrified palm roots that were once part of an ancient, lush landscape.

The Milpitas Wash Wilderness provides habitat for Desert tortoise, mountain lion, long-eared owl, leaf nose bat, Merriam and Desert kangaroo rat, long tail and little pocket mice, Bullock’s and hooded orioles, towhees, white-crowned sparrow, Brewer’s sparrow, warbler, black-headed grosbeak, diamondback rattler, and the endangered Gila woodpecker. The Milpitas Wash region supports the largest Sonoran Desert woodland in North America. Most of the trees are legumes: mesquites, acacias, palo verdes, and ironwoods; and there are also desert willows. The abundance of old-growth trees, with most standing over 15 feet high, gives the area a lush character unusual for the desert.

Planning to Visit the Milpitas Wash 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 Milpitas Wash 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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