Chuckwalla Bench is one of the best contiguous tortoise habitats in the California Desert.

Chuckwalla Bench was the site of one of General Patton’s World War II training camps.

The Munz Cholla – the largest cactus in California – is found nowhere else on earth than in the Chuckwalla Bench.

Chuckwalla Bench is home to desert forests, cinder cones, and spectacular cactus gardens, and summer monsoons bring the area to life. Interlacing channels and canyons filled with ironwood, Palo Verde trees, bunchgrasses, and ocotillo separate expanses of “desert pavement.”

Hidden along these channels are occasional springs that draw migrating birds and other wildlife, creating excellent opportunities for wildlife watching. The woodlands are also home to an array of species, including the desert tortoise and the elusive burro deer.

Ancient hunting heritage

Native Americans used these desert forests as hunting grounds, travelling up from permanent settlements along the Colorado River to hunt deer and game birds. This tradition continues today under management of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Bureau of Land Management.

A landscape fit for protection

Chuckwalla Bench stretches from Joshua Tree National Park along the Chocolate Mountains and down to the Colorado River, and is surrounded by Wilderness Areas like the Palo Verde and Chuckwalla Mountains. The Bench remains a largely intact ecosystem because of its early recognition as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.

Things to do in Chuckwalla Bench

Off-Road Exploration

The Bench also hosts a great variety of public access trails for off-road exploration, hunting, and hiking.

Long-term & Primitive Camping

Facilities for long-term camping exist at Wiley’s Well and Coon Hollow, while opportunities for primitive camping, by vehicle or on foot, are available all across the 800,000 acres of the Bench.

Day Hiking

Visitors can collect geodes along veins of exposed geology, and explore wilderness areas on foot during day hikes.

*Please remember to follow all applicable rules and regulations, and stay on designated routes in order to protect the desert for everyone to enjoy. These Lands are for all of us. Please do your part.