Bristol Mountains Wilderness

The Bristol Mountains Wilderness is a 71,000 acre remote wilderness area just west of the Mojave National Preserve. The vegetation type is predominantly Creosote scrub and plants that grow in dry washes, such as Desert Willow. Wildlife includes coyote, black-tailed jackrabbits, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, quail, roadrunners, rattlesnakes, and several species of lizards. The Bristol Mountains also provide habitat for migrating desert bighorn sheep.

Overseen by the BLM, you can also visit the nearby stunning Kelso Dunes to the North and the Trilobite Wilderness to the southeast. The Bristol Mountains Wilderness consists of a portion of the Old Dad Mountains and the north part of the Bristol Mountains. You can find Mojave Yucca and Creosote here. Very few trails exist in the wilderness, which is advantageous in terms of lack of trampling of native vegetation and discovery of new or rare species.

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Mojave Yucca

Martin's Giant Skipper butterfly deposit eggs on this plant. Native people used fibers for sandals.

Mojave Yucca plant in the desert

Creosote Bush

Many animals make their burrows underneath creosote bushes, including Merriam's Kangaroo Rat and the federally threatened Desert Tortoise. The leaves and tiny seeds of this species are an important food source for rabbits, woodrats, mice, lizards and birds. The USFS has estimated that Creosote Bush covers 35 - 46 million acres in the southwest. A massive clonal colony of this plant was discovered in Lucerne Valley, CA.  Through radiocarbon dating it was placed at 11,700 years old, thus one of the oldest living things on earth and dubbed King Clone.

Creosote Bush shrub in the desert
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