Kelbaker Road

Kelbaker Road, Mojave NP

Kelbaker Road is one of the well-traveled back roads in the Mojave Desert connecting two major Eastern California routes of Interstate system. The I-40 to the south and the I-15 to the north, spanning 50 miles from one to the other.

Kelbaker Rd continues south to T up w/ historic Route 66 near Amboy, CA. Gasoline is very iffy in Amboy, so remember gas up in Barstow.

This region is super scenic portion of Kelbaker Road, which cuts thru the western edge of Mojave National Preserve. The Kelbaker pavement reaches to an elevation of 4024′ at Granite Pass, about 6 miles north of the exit @ interstate 40. Boulder outcroppings, bare mountain peaks, secluded cove camp sites w/ dirt roads, and old mines all over. Joshua tree forest and pinyon pine forest encircle the Mid Hills region.

Some roads are suitable for passenger cars, but many are not. Dirt slides, erosion gullies, wash outs and rocks are common on these roads, so drive slow and pay attention.

There are private property ranches, active railroad tracks & BLM lands along the Kelbaker route. Some of the boundaries of NPS have been extended, so best to bring a map.

MOJAVE DESERT topo maps

Free camping is abundant in this desert region, but it’s all primitive w/ no facilities and all are on dirt roads when your turn off Kelbaker. Some of the best camping areas are around 4000 feet (above sea level), so serious wind and even snow is quite possible in the winter months. Go prepared w/ plenty firewood.

Historic Mojave Trail (aka Mojave Road) is out this way. Dirt bikes, off roaders love this trail that connects the Colorado River @ Avi Casino to Afton Canyon near Barstow.

WILDFLOWERS – joshua tree, yucca, barrel cactus
Higher elevation deserts bloom in late Spring, generally March thru May. Perfect rainfall timing in the autumn, can determine wild blooms and flora months later. Providence Mountains SRA can be a good location for wildflower viewing.

Kelso, CA

Kelso Depot:  historic spot, centered around the old train depot, which has been restored and has become the new visitors center and museum. Totally worth a 2 hour stop and HIKING/WALKING stretch break. The road heads north from Kelso and the name changes to: Kelbaker-Cima Road

Cima, CA

mojave dirt roadsCima Store, 20 miles to the north is one of the few businesses in this region. Post Office next door, maybe. Cima Road connects to I-15 in approximately 15 miles north. Kelbaker Road splits again and it heads up to I-15 @ Baker, CA

See more in this Mojave area —

Kelbaker Rd

Kelbaker Road and Railroad Tracks

Hole in the Rock

Hole in the Rock, Mojave NP

Mojave Scenery

Mojave Mid Hills boulder peaks

El Dorado Camping

Primitive Camping in El Dorado County

Camping Rivers

More & more people are venturing off the beaten touristy path of Gold Country. Getting outta the developed campgrounds to discover the joys of dispersed back woods camping is a new adventure, not to be taken lightly.

With truck or SUV ownership come some great rewards! Order a good map & go find some dirt roads. Waterfalls, dense forests, secluded creekside camp sites & more await you. Obtaining a camp fire permit is mandatory for this style of camping. Campfires are often banned in California, due to extreme wildfire danger. Since the gold mining foothills are usually oak and dry grass, with large steep river canyons, extra caution should be given. Always know the fire conditions before you build a campfire. Caldor Camping

Discover the hidden back roads: like Caldor Road off of Grizzly Flat Rd. – up above Placerville CA

Hey, now this is what we’re talking about. Plenty great dispersed camping down by the Cosumnes River & Consumnes Mine Rd. There are hundreds of miles of small roads to discover back behind this historic mining area. Rivers, waterfalls & decent fishing too. Make sure you clean up some litter. This is the only price you pay for the beauty, serenity, peace & quiet & no neighbor campers next to you.

Out exploring these parts, you may run into a dead end road that peters out at some Private Property, which is usually signed & fenced. Make nice with the old crazy miner dude & turn your ass around politely, everything will be okay as soon as you are not within gun shot of him. Yes, there still are plenty of small time mining experts tucked away back here in the hills.

river camping
Premium and secluded river side camp sites in El Dorado National Forest

Plenty creeks and rivers run throughout this central Sierra region, so you can fish all day – until your hearts desire. River rafting and river kayaking opportunities are also great reasons to get wet.

Several mountain reservoirs around offer camping and boating too. Eldorado lakes are listed below.

CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

  • Caples Lake @ Carson Pass
  • Ice House Reservoir
  • Jenkinson Lake – US Hwy 50
  • Kirkwood Lake
  • Lower Bear River Res. – South Shore Campground
  • Salt Springs Reservoir
  • Silver Lake @ Carson Pass
  • Union Valley Reservoir
  • nearby towns –

    El Dorado Forest Maps –

    Frazier Park Camping

    Mount Pinos Camping & Frazier Park Campgrounds
    frazier park camping


    Frazier Park and neighboring towns, like freeway-close Lebec and Gorman, is where the Los Angeles hills meet the Kern County mountains, next to the Mojave desert and the Antelope Valley. EXIT I-5 @ Tejon Pass (elev 4144′)

    Wildflower hills, seasonal creeks, forested peaks, high desert canyons. Bike trails, hike trails, off road routes. High elevation backpacking, hang gliding, mountain biking and camping in every direction.

    High desert washes, oak creeks, pinyon pine forests, mountain meadows and numerous peaks – Frazier Peak, Reyes Peak, Alamo Mountain, Mount Pinos, Mount Abel (Cerro Noroeste) and north facing San Emigdio ridge.

    CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

    blue links lead to camp reservation services.

    Mt. Pinos District:

    campground elev spots veg toilet water notes
    Aliso Park, Cuyama 3200′ 11 oak pit no Aliso Cyn Rd. (#10N04)
    Ballinger OHV Camp 3000′ 20 pinyon vault no Rd# 9N10, Cuyama Valley
    Camp-O Alto 8286′ 12 jefferey pit no ridge, Cerro Noroeste
    Caballo Campground 5850′ 5 oaks pit no Rd# 9N27, Cerro Noroeste
    Cherry Creek 4×4 5200′ 2 oak no spring 4WD trail, Cuddy Valley
    Chuchapate Campgr 6000′ 30 pines vault piped Rd# 8N04, closed winter
    Chula Vista Campgr 8300′ 12 pines vault no walk-in camps & RV lot
    Cottonwood Campgr 4600′ 2 ctnwd no creek 4WD only trail, fish
    Dome Springs Camp 4800′ 4 oak pit no Rd# 8N40, Lockwood
    Dutchman Camp 6800′ 8 pines no no Rd# 7N01, 4WD trails
    Half Moon Campgr 4700′ 10 pines pit no Rd #7N03, May-Oct
    Kings Campground 4250′ 7 pinyon vault no near OHV & Piru Creek
    Marian Campground 6600′ 5 pine pit no closed in winter
    McGill Campground 7500′ 50+ pine vault seasonal mountain biking
    Mount Pinos Campgr 7800′ 19 pine vault seasonal closed winter
    Nettle Springs Camp 4400′ 9 pinyon vault no Rd# 8N06, Apache Cyn
    Ozena Campground 3660′ 12 cottnwd vault no Lockwood Rd
    Pine Springs Camp 5800′ 12 pinyon pit no Road #7N03
    Pleito Campsite 5000′ 2 mixed no no dirt rd access, dispersed
    Rancho Nuevo 3550′ 2 mixed no no river crossing
    Reyes Creek 4000′ 30 oaks vault yes creek camping
    Reyes Peak Pine Mt 5200′ 6 pines none no ridge camping
    Salt Creek 4×4 3000′ 2 mixed no no 4WD only
    Sunset Campground 4300′ 2 cottonwd no no Lockwood / Piru Creek
    Thorn Meadows 5000′ 5 pine pit no Rd# 7N03C, horse corral
    Tinta Campground 3600′ 3 scrub pit no river crossing
    Toad Springs Camp 5700′ 5 pinyon pit no Rd# 9N09, Quatal Cyn
    Twin Pines Camp 6600′ 5 pine vault no Dry weather only
    Valle Vista Camp 4800′ 7 mixed pit no condors, new toilet

    See Mount Pinos Recreation Campgrounds only

    Group Camping Sites in Los Padres Forest

    Map of Los Padres NF –

    Los Padres mountain towns –

    DSCN0043

    Toad Springs Campground atop Quatal Canyon. Small camps located in Los Padres NF have no fees, and often no toilets – so bring the shovel

    Green Creek Road

    Mono County Wildlife Area

    Mono County Wildlife Area, Green Creek Road- off Hwy 395, near Bodie

    Green Creek California

    Eastern Sierra

    S of Bridgeport, CA
    MONO – Road #142NFS

    Toiyabe National Forest
    Bridgeport Ranger District

    If you are thinking about fishing or camping the Eastern Sierra, North of Bishop & you are not up for the crowds at Mammoth or June Lakes, then try the Bridgeport area, north on Hwy 395. Rural ranch lands along main road, Bodie ghost town turn off across the highway and Virginia Creek Settlement are also nearby

    Green Creek is a 11 mile long dirt road in the lush Eastern Sierra the northern portion. The wide, graded dirt road is signed and dead ends at a Toiyabe National Forest campground called Green Creek Campground. The drive up can be washboard bumpy in some parts, but that doesn’t stop the hundreds of adventurous motorhomes that make this trek annually. This place features some of the best prime Sierra back roads camping options for RVs.

    Another dirt route, Dunderberg Meadow Road peels off to the left. Dunderberg departs  off Green Creek a couple of miles from the highway and well maintained. This route leads to meadows, aspens, picture perfect scenery and much more seclusion. Passenger car accessible, wide graded dirt roads to wilderness edges. Two-track one lane trails lead to meadow edges and more creeks. Very impressive views of the Sierra peaks over here on this side. Meadows are sensitive areas, wonderful for picnics and you should always minimize impact.

    State Park California

    Green Creek Wildlife Area
    Mono County, California

    Aspen Grove Camping for RVs

    • alpine lakes
    • backpacking
    • bird watching
    • camping
    • creeks
    • day hikes
    • fishing
    • hiking
    • horseback
    • hunting
    • mountain biking
    • wildlife
    • wilderness

    Plain old passenger cars can easily make this route deep into the Eastern Sierra aspen canyon. Graded dirt and4x4 could be needed winter months. Backpackers can enjoy easy access to the Hoover Wilderness trailheads. There is plenty semi-primitive camping spots along the way, right on the creek, for free…. so no need to sleep in your vehicle upon arrival.

    Autumn Aspen Groves: fall colors peak in October, which is usually when the first snows for the winter season start. November – usually the freeze gets them and lifeless brown leaves dangle, until the Sierra Nevada wind gust blow real good.

    camp

    Green Creek Camping

    DIRT ROAD CAMPING

    • alpine lakes
    • backpacking
    • car camping
    • day hikes
    • fishing camping
    • meadows
    • RV camping
    • tent camping

    Hoover Wilderness

    Dispersed, primitive camp spots along this main dirt road are on a first come basis. You’ll need a fire permit. Many flat camps are set along the creek in aspen groves, some pines, others have  cubby hole privacy. Large granite valley, big creek, bird, scenery and nature everywhere.  Some folks spend weeks camping out here in the warm weather months. Fishing is a big attraction.

    Old Cabin in autumn leaves, up near the top of the dirt road deep in the aspen grovesNFS

    Green Creek Campground USFS
    7500 elevation
    11 camp sites
    fee, open May – October
    trailhead parking nearby

    hiking trails lead to

    hikes

    TOPOGRAPHIC MAPS:

    Aspen Camp

    Chimney Peak Backcountry Byway

    chimney peak Wilderness

    East of Lake Isabella and west of Walker Pass, there is a small community called Canebrake along Highway 178 Canebrake Road, a graded dirt road climbs up into pinyon pine forests. Lamont Peak (aka Lamont Pinnacles) is a decent hike & rock climbers dig it too.

    Lamont Peak

    Chimney Creek Campground is along the main road and has RV access (28′ max), for the motorhomes who do not mind a little dirt road driving. Easy trail access to numerous area hikes. The PCT is routed close by.

    Long Valley Campground is tucked way back in the boonies with trailhead leading into the granite Dome Lands; Fishing and river access to the South Fork of the Kern.

    Long Valley Loop

    Long Valley Loop Road (2001)

    Long Valley Loop Road circles the Chimney Peak Wilderness, which skirts the Domeland Wilderness. THE LOOP is washed out and ROAD is NOW CLOSED in one portion. See BLM web site for up to date info.

    [ see the photos from 2001 ]

    nearby towns –

    ALTA SIERRA
    LAKE ISABELLA
    KENNEDY MEADOWS
    KERNVILLE
    WOFFORD HEIGHTS

    maps of the region –

    SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST MAP
    DOMELAND WILDERNESS MAP
    HIKING MAP PCT #3 (PACIFIC CREST TRAIL)