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Desert Tortoise Natural Area

Tehachapi Mountains + Western Mojave Desert, California

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Desert Tortoise Natural Area

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  • Welcome to Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area.- Desert Tortoise Natural Area
  • Spring blooms at Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area.- Desert Tortoise Natural Area
  • Lacy phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia).- Desert Tortoise Natural Area
  • Wide open spaces at Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area.- Desert Tortoise Natural Area
  • Tiny white flowers on the desert floor.- Desert Tortoise Natural Area
  • There are a couple of short hiking loops at Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area.- Desert Tortoise Natural Area
  • Lupine flowers.- Desert Tortoise Natural Area
  • Millions of tiny yellow flowers turn the desert gold.- Desert Tortoise Natural Area
  • Keep your eyes peeled for lizards scurrying across the trails.- Desert Tortoise Natural Area
  • Purple flowers come to life in the spring.- Desert Tortoise Natural Area
  • Colorful rock in Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area.- Desert Tortoise Natural Area
  • Leopard lizard in Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area.- Desert Tortoise Natural Area
  • The interpretive trails at Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area will teach you about the plants and animals in the desert.- Desert Tortoise Natural Area
  • A bleached, old tortoise shell.- Desert Tortoise Natural Area
  • The desert is the showiest in spring.- Desert Tortoise Natural Area
  • More desert blooms.- Desert Tortoise Natural Area
  • Cholla cactus.- Desert Tortoise Natural Area
  • No shade at the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area.- Desert Tortoise Natural Area
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Solitude. Wildlife watching.
Cons: 
Very exposed to weather.
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Region:
Tehachapi Mountains + Western Mojave Desert, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

The desert tortoise is a threatened species in the United States, with its population plummeting as much as 90 percent in the last 40 years. This small patch of tortoise habitat, Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area, is an oasis for this unique creature. But it's not only the animal that thrives here. Ground squirrels, several species of lizards, jackrabbits, songbirds, and snakes all call this area home.

During your visit, be sure to pick up trail brochures at the start of the interpretive loops. As you walk along the trail, numbered signposts correlate with the information in the brochures. You'll learn more about the vegetation, animals, habitat, and human impact on the desert during your hike. If you're set on seeing wildlife, visit the natural area in the springtime. Walk quietly and visit in the early morning for your best chances at seeing the tortoises out and about. During the heat of the day, most animals hunker down in the shade and well out of sight.

Springtime also means you'll likely see a variety of colorful flowers. Look for Mojave asters, lacy phacelias, blazing star, desert sage, and lupine, just to name a few. The volunteer park host, in addition to the informational signboard, can help you identify what's blooming during your visit.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

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