At Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska, wild rivers meander through glacier-carved valleys, caribou migrate along age-old trails and endless summer light fades into aurora-lit night skies of winter. It remains virtually unchanged except by the forces of nature. With no roads or trails, getting here is a challenge, but the reward is a lifetime of amazing memories. Photo by Carl Johnson, National Park Service.


#TravelTuesday to the Rugged Indian Pass Wilderness in California.

The Indian Pass Wilderness is a distinctive part of the Chocolate Mountains, a range which extends from south central Riverside County to the Colorado River near Yuma, Arizona.

Quartz peak is the highest point in the Wilderness capped at 2,200 feet. Jagged peaks and spires are sliced by mazes of twisting canyons which carry water from occasional desert cloudbursts into several tree-lined washes. One of these washes passes through the heart of the Wilderness area, giving rise to the region’s local name, “Julian Wash country.”

The area’s proximity to the Colorado River and the Arizona Desert contribute to the presence of wildlife species not commonly found in the California Desert. The Colorado River toad, Great Plains toad and tree lizard, while common in other states, are rarely seen in California. Burros and mule deer make their home over the entire area, and the rugged mountains provide ideal habitat for the desert bighorn sheep.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM