Mecca Hills Wilderness

The Mecca Hills Wilderness is located south of Joshua Tree National Park in the Colorado Desert of Southern California and encompasses 26.356 acres. It was established in 1994 and is administered by the BLM.  

This is the low, or Colorado / Sonoran desert, and best visited in the cold and shoulder seasons as temperatures here can reach into the 120s-130s in the summertime. Natural water sources are seasonal only, and typically dry. There are spectacular rock formations to be found here with infinite opportunities for exploration, and it’s known for grottoes and natural water springs in the southern portion. It’s a native habitat to plant species common to the Sonoran desert, such as ocotillo and palo verde, and home to desert tortoises as well as a crossing zone for bighorn sheep.   

I found this area by accident while traveling from Salton Sea to Joshua Tree, and stopped to explore the rocks and canyons. Later, I ended up camping here inadvertently as a result of becoming stuck in a sandy wash… oops! Not-So-Pro Tip: Avoid driving in sandy washes unless you have 4WD.

Exploring and dispersed camping here are available free of charge. Box Canyon Road bisects the wilderness, but other than in the immediate canyon areas off the road, motorized vehicles are not allowed in the Wilderness. There are no amenities or services, so you will have to pack in everything you need. Remember to Leave No Trace, and pack it all back out again when you depart. Cell service is extremely limited.

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