Bright Star Wilderness

Bureau of Land Management, California.

Bright Star Wilderness Bright Star Canyon encloses Kelso Creek and leaves Sequoia National Forest to cross the southern portion of the Bureau of Land Management's Bright Star Wilderness. In the northwestern portion, Cortez Canyon has been carved out of the Kelso Mountains. In the northeastern portion, Kelso Peak stands at 5,090 feet with drainages falling off to the north, south, and east.

Bright Star Wilderness

Elevations range from 3,000’ near the floor of Kelso Valley to over 5,800’ on the highest ridges and peaks. In mid-summer, day-time temperature can exceed 100oF before cooling off at night. In winter, higher elevations are often covered with snow and in years of adequate precipitation, wildflowers cover the slopes in stunning displays of color. The upper slopes are dotted with piñon pine and juniper, while the lower slopes are brushy and broken by large granite outcroppings. The valley below is boulder-strewn and dense with Joshua trees. Here the Mojave Desert meets the Sierra Nevada, allowing for a wide variety of wildlife. These include hundreds of bird species, black bear, coyote, mountain lion, and bobcat. Mule deer, chukar, mountain quail, and California quail also inhabit the area. Eagles, hawks, and other raptors nest in the large cottonwoods and on the cliffs.

Visitors should note that there are no designated trails for backpackers and the entire Wilderness lies within the Bureau of Land Management's Jawbone-Butterbredt Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Page Break

For more information about this wilderness, please visit Wilderness Connect.

Leave No Trace

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). For more information on any of the principles listed below, please visit Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.

Rules and Regulations

Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport are generally prohibited on all federal lands designated as wilderness. This includes the use of motor vehicles (including OHVs), motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters, unless provided for in specific legislation. In a few areas some exceptions allowing the use of motorized equipment or mechanical transport are described in the special regulations in effect for a specific area. Contact the agency for more information about regulations.

Nearby Activities


Access is via State Highway 178 east of Bakersfield and along Kelso Valley Road, or via State Highway 14 south of Red Rock Canyon State Park and along Jawbone Canyon Road.

Additional Information

Photo Gallery