A partnership of the National Park Service and the United States Forest Service.

area map of Bright Star Wilderness

The Bright Star Wilderness was designated under the California Desert Protection Act of 1994. A relatively small wilderness encompassing only 9,520 acres of the southern transition ecosystems of the Sierra, the Bright Star protects much of the Kelso range. Although it lacks designated hiking trails visitors will enjoy true solitude and an incredible array of birdlife in this notable “Mojave-meets-Sierra” wilderness.

Varying from the pinon pine and juniper vegetation familiar in the Sierra to the brush, chaparral, and Joshua tree habitats of lower elevations, the Bright Star Wilderness juxtaposes its vegetation with a scattering of granite massifs. In the northwest portion the Kelso Mountains, which join the Piute Mountains outside the wilderness, split to create Cortez Canyon. Kelso Peak dominates the northeastern portion of the wilderness at 5,090 feet, its drainages flowing in every direction but west. Kelso Creek, the southern-most artery of the Kern River, is sheltered within the Bright Star Canyon as it flows between smooth and jagged granite blocks.

The Bright Star lies within the BLM’s Jawbone-Butterbredt Area of Critical Environmental Concern, protecting watersheds such as the Kelso Creek Sanctuary which are critical to migratory birds. Over 275 species of bird either live in or use the Jawbone/Butterbredt/Kelso Valley seasonally.


No permit is required for camping in the Kiavah Wilderness - go for it! Camping is limited to 14 days, after which visitors must relocate at least 25 miles from their previous site.


No more than 15 people and 25 head of stock are allowed on overnight trips. Why?


Black bears are generally not a problem in the Domeland Wilderness, but it is always advisable to store your food properly.


Campfires are allowed with a campfire permit. Gathering wood for campfires is limited to dead and down materials. Live vegetation cannot be cut.


Domestic pets are allowed so long as they are under control and do not harass wildlife.


  • Horses are permitted, however, you may be required to carry weed-free feed.
  • Removal, disturbance, or attempting to remove archaeological materials is a felony. Selling, receiving, purchasing, transporting, exchanging, or offering to do so is prohibited by law.


Bureau of Land Management
Bakersfield Field Office
3801 Pegasus Drive
Bakersfield, CA 93308
(661) 391-6000

Ridgecrest Field Office
300 S. Richmond Road
Ridgecrest, CA 93555
(760) 384-5400