OverviewWyleys Knob (also spelled Wyley's or Wiley's) is a high rocky outcrop in the Scodie Mountains in the southernmost part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. It is on BLM land south of Bird Spring Pass at the southern boundary of the Kiavah Wilderness. Bird Spring Pass's claim to fame is "In March of 1854 on his fifth expedition to California, John Charles Fremont, finding Walker's Pass blocked by snow, made the first known passage by white men via the Bird Spring Route." This is according to a marker placed at the intersection of the Bird Spring Road and Kelso Valley Road by Boy Scout Troop 47, May 18, 1969.
The knob is just a short cross-country jaunt from the PCT and affords sweeping views of the Mojave Desert to the east and south, the Sierra Crest to the north, and Kelso Valley and the Piute Mountains to the west.
According to the BLM website, Wyleys Knob and the surrounding area is an excellent place for raptor-watching. I can attest to this as I saw two hawks on my short visit on New Year's Day, 2007.
"Migrating turkey vultures and other raptors from September-October. Golden eagle, prairie falcon and a variety of hawk species are commonly seen from this high rocky knob. Up to 30,000 turkey vultures pass through Bird Spring Pass, north of Wiley's Knob each September on their way south into Mexico."
I also saw a Raven and a dozen or so Mountain Blue Birds near the aptly named Bird Spring Pass. Vegetation here consists of Joshua Trees, Pinyon Pine and Juniper Woodland, Yucca, Mormon Tea, and Sage. I want to go back and visit this area in the spring because from the abundant dried chia flower heads I saw this area no doubt puts on quite a wildflower show!
Getting ThereFrom SR 14 take BLM route SC65 to the Los Angeles Aqueduct, and travel south for a distance of approximately 1.25 miles to the intersection of BLM route SC106. Follow this rough dirt road west to the top of Bird Spring Pass. You will need a high clearance 2-wheel drive or a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
From the Lake Isabella/Weldon area on Hwy 178, take Kelso Valley Road south for about 15 miles. Take the Bird Spring Road (BLM route SC106) east about 8 miles up to Bird Spring Pass. This road may wash-out from time to time so a high-clearance vehicle and 4wd may be necessary.
Starting on the well-signed PCT at the pass, hike south approximately 2 miles. The PCT countours around the eastern edge of Wyleys Knob and it is fairly easy to pick a route to the top of the knob.
There is also a road to the top of Wyleys Knob, and at this time, it is open to the public. From Bird Spring Pass take the well-marked dirt road (BLM Route SC28) heading south up to the Knob (look for the radio towers atop it). This road should be passable most months of the year, but may have snow/ice in the winter months.
Red TapeNo permits are needed to hike in this area. Please practice Leave No Trace ethics. Be sure and carry water with you as no water is available along the way.
CampingOn most National Forest and BLM lands you can disperse camp, which means camping outside of a developed campground. In some areas you cannot, so it is best to call or stop in the ranger station to tell them your plans. Also, if you have a campfire or charcoal barbeque, you will need a campfire permit. They are available free at any of the offices listed below, as well as at California Department of Forestry (CDF) or Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office.
External LinksBLM - Ridgecrest
Sequoia National Forest
PCT section F - photos and information
Kern Valley Canyon Connection
Weather Forecast for the Kern County Mountains
For more informationBLM - Ridgecrest Field Office
300 S. Richmond Rd.
Ridgecrest, CA 93555