Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness


Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness
Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness

With only 6,050 acres, Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness is one of the smallest wilderness areas in Nevada. This is a flat, gently sloped alluvial plain in the desert between US 95 and the I-15, south of Las Vegas. The vegetation is primarily blackbrush and creosote bush but there is a large, dense stand of Joshua trees, too. There are many birds in the area, some kit fox and even a few desert tortoise.

There is only one designated trail in the Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness, and that trail is along the southern edge of the area on an old wagon trail known as the "Eldorado Trail." The Eldorado Trail was built to serve the mining areas in the Eldorado Mountains near Nelson back in the day. The off-trail hiking isn't hard but you may want a compass with you: it's easy to become disoriented in hiking through the Joshua tree forest and there are very few landmarks to steer by in this flat piece of Mohave Desert.

Access is via State Highway 164: about 8.3 miles west of Searchlight look for a dirt road and windmill on the north side of the road. For the next 5 miles to the west on SR 164, everything to the north is part of the Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness. There are dirt roads that completely circumnavigate the wilderness that are passable with a high clearance vehicle (4WD is not usually necessary).

"Wee Thump" is Paiute for "ancient ones."

Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness map
Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness area map
Upper photo courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management
Map courtesy of National Geographic Topo!