Sacramento Mountains Reserve

The Sacramento Mountains Reserve, a satellite of the Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center, is located 15 miles west of the town of Needles, CA along Interstate 40. The Reserve contains approximately 240 hectares (600 acres) of exceptional desert habitat ranging in elevation from 740 meters (2,300 feet) to 970 meters (3,000 feet).


The northern half of the Reserve includes the steep, rocky south-facing slopes of the Sacramento Mountains. The lower slopes contain an isolated colony of ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens ssp. splendens), one of the northernmost occurrences of this species. The gradual slopes of the southern half feature well developed desert pavement and desert varnish, and nine species of cacti, including one the finest displays of Bigelow teddy bear cholla (Cylindropuntia bigelovii) in California. The portion of the Reserve located south of interstate 40 is located within the Bigelow Cholla Garden Wilderness Area, created in 1994 with the passage of the California Desert Protection Act.

A complete plant list for the Sacramento Mountains Reserve is available upon request. There are no facilities at the site and access is difficult.  Please contact us directly if you are interested in learning more about this Reserve.