The Bighorn Mountains make up the eastern foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains. The western border is contiguous with the San Bernardino National Forest. The highest elevation is 7,500-foot Granite Peak located in the southwest corner. Most of the wilderness consists of flat plateaus and low hills. The wilderness is divided by dirt roads into three units. Rattlesnake Canyon, a perennial stream, forms one corridor that provides access to the largest two subunits. The wilderness lies at the transition zone from high desert to conifer forest, with Joshua tree at lower elevations and forests of Jeffrey pine at the highest elevations. Mule deer, mountain lion, bobcat, and jackrabbit along with smaller mammals, birds, and rodents are found here. Bighorn sheep, for which the mountains are named, are now extirpated. With a perennial stream, it is not surprising that archeological remains are numerous. Several semipermanent village sites are reported, as well as rock art, middens, roasting pits, and metates.
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