Horse Thief Camp - Kingston Mountains, CA

Near Baker, California

Horse Thief Camp - Kingston Mountains, CA does not offer reservations through Please take a look at the area details below for more information about visiting this location. Enjoy your visit!


The health and safety of our visitors and staff remains the number one priority of the Bureau of Land Management. In accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and local health officials, the BLM will temporarily close this site to overnight use to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Please visit the BLM California COVID Updates page for more information.

Horse Thief Camp, Horsethief Spring and Amethyst Trail are all located within the Tecopa Pass Historic Trails Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA). The area was originally named by surveyors in honor of the legendary Chief Walkara (a.k.a. Chief Walker), a member of a Ute Tribe. Walkara was a skilled hunter and horseman. He was nomadic and traveled over great distance, from Utah to California, often utilizing the nearby Old Spanish Trail. Able to speak numerous languages, he was well respected by whomever meant him. He proved to be a very skilled negotiator and helped negotiate peace between Utah settlers and Native Americans in 1853. However, he is most remembered for the hundreds of horses and mules his band captures from the Spanish Ranches in the Cajon Pass area of Southern California. His band of warriors escaped from California traveling across the Mojave Desert, it is believed he hid out near the Springs in the Kingston Mountains before pushing the horses east for sale to travelers on the Old Spanish Trail, settlers in Utah and the military. It is believed that he traded regularly with such people as Pegleg Smith and Brigham Young and that his scouts shared the water route through the Kingston Wash with the U.S. military. This campground is a first-come first-served area, with three single and one double campsite. Tables and fire grates are provided at each campsite. A vault toilet is located in the center of the campground. There is no fire wood or potable water available. Bring a sufficient supply of each for your use.

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