Bright Star Wilderness

In Kelso Canyon Kelso Canyon

Bright Star Canyon crosses the southern portion of Bright Star Wilderness, following Kelso Creek as it exits Sequoia National Forest. In the northeast corner of the wilderness Kelso peak rises to 5,090 feet with drainages falling off to the north, south and east. To the west, in the northwest corner of the wilderness, Cortez Canyon emerges from the Kelso Mountains. The bottom of Kelso Valley is at about 3,000 feet elevation while the highest ridges reach about 5,800 feet elevation. Winter can see snow on the higher elevations while a typical summer day sees the temperature above 100°F.

This is where the Mojave Desert meets the Sierra Nevada, meaning there's a large variety of wildlife on the property. The lower slopes of the wilderness are brushy with plenty of chaparral and granite outcroppings. There is some pinon-juniper woodland in the upper reaches. The canyon floors sport lots of Joshua trees. There are eagles, hawks and other rapors living in the large cottonwoods and among the cliffs. Black bear, mountain lion, coyote, bobcat, mule deer, chukar and hundreds of species of birds can be found in the different seasons.

There are no designated or maintained trails in the wilderness. The entire wilderness area is within the bounds of the Jawbone-Butterbredt Area of Critical Environmental Concern.

Photos and map courtesy of the BLM, CCA 2.0 License