19S01 – Inyo NF

south sierra ridges

Walker Creek Road #19S01
– Inyo National Forest

Southern Slopes, Eastern Sierra Nevada

Just south of Olancha, off US Hwy 395 is a dirt road that takes you 5 miles up to an oak canyon lined with rocks. There are several primitive camp sites along the Walker Creek. A high clearance vehicle may be needed in some sections, but 4×4 is not required. Small RVs might attempt this, but if the first mile frightens you, turn around while you’re ahead.

Dirt Road near 395

This private, shaded, creek area is perfect for those traveling Highway 395, looking for a quick and free camp spot near Olancha, CA

nice shady spots
Shady picnic or camp spots above 4000′ elevation.

some granite
Hiking trails at the end of the road lead deep into the mountains. One on the right takes you to waterfalls. The trail on the left will take you to meet up with the Sage Flat Trail, which leads up to Olancha Pass, Summit Meadows & a small lake, in the South Sierra Wilderness. The Pacific Crest Trail runs the ridges here, just west of Monache Meadows, which is at 8000′ elevation, way above here – up on top. 

First Camp

US 395 highway – the dirt road turn off is very close to a gas station, and it maybe be signed, or not. The gas stop may be in business, or perhaps not. This is rural California, wide open desert and things come and go quickly.

On a good topo map, located Olancha Creek and Summit Creek to the south. Walker Creek is the canyon in between those two, just so know where you are going and can visualize. This one is an easy-to-miss dirt road turn off – especially if you are going over 50 mph.

4×4 Off Roading


Off Roading Moab Utah

 

Originally uploaded by danamight


4×4 offroad

When people hear the phrase “off road” a hundred things can come to mind. Granola types envision rednecks, guns & beer cans tearing up the wilderness; while teen boys may like dirt bikes or motocross races; your co-worker digs the rock crawling rigs (on TV); your lesbian pals like to do desert & ghost town exploring in their Jeep & a million families like to camp out with RV & toys in tow. The quads, the sand rails, the rock crawling machines, the custom built buggies. Trophy trucks, rally racing Subies, 4WD camper vans, dirt bikes, the standard stock SUV, some w/ 4-wheel drive and who can forget the ever-freaking-popular jeaps. Sunday drivers sightseeing or hard core dare devil racers can be found in the realm of off-road: Off pavement.

They are ALL off roaders! And they are all unique, custom & no two created equal. There is certainty of it & the passionate fans will tell you. The off roading interest has gained popularity as more & more recreation vehicles become available to the main stream market. And TV shows promote these awesome rigs, the sport of dirt racing, rock crawling & the fantastic terrain. (And if you still watch television, that will soon change!)

Baby boomers seek retirement vacations: compact 4WD camper vans, or smaller RVs capable of trailering an off-road machine; Fathers look for ways to entertain family out of doors, or escape on solo trips (for sanity sake). The off-road sport and interest has literally exploded over the past 20 years w/ media, hobby, competitions & after market products – along with the rising gas & tire prices.

4x4 Ford Camper at a Big Bear Campout

4×4 Ford Camper at a Big Bear Campout

  • California 4×4 Camping
  • California Back Roads
  • California Off Road Areas
  • California Off Road Maps
  • California Beach 4×4
  • List of California 4×4 Clubs
  • Baja 4×4 Camping [coming soon]
  • 4×4 Camper Vans [coming soon]
  • California dirt road heaven

    Wheeling

    California Back Roads
    WHERE TO START?

    Plan better trips, learn to really read a topographic map, depart for your trip over-prepared and find new, amazing destinations all over California. Use Total Escape often and get a bumper sticker for your rig!

    Many folks drive dirt roads just to get to a trailhead and go hiking, mountain biking or rock climbing. Many backpackers trailheads are indeed located miles off pavement on forest dirt roads.

    Some outdoor enthusiasts crave seclusion: peace and quite, away from city life, city folks, all noise… well away from the crowds. Preferring to camp outside of developed campgrounds, which means free camping (mostly on dirt roads). Campfire permits are always required. Many excellent, hidden camp sites can be found on rugged, unpaved back roads – some requiring 4 wheel drive, others not.

    Gear Heads: those who value ‘vehicle time’ over ‘real nature’ will literally SIT inside their rigs (almost all day) – enjoying scenery from a safe distance. Picnic spot, viewpoint, yes, but rarely ever seeking out a hike, or a waterfall. Should a break-down occur, these dedicated guys will have their heads under the hoods or crawling underneath, for hours if needbe. Always be prepared with food in the cooler.

    Tent Campers
    And believe it or not, some off-roaders will not even tent camp! They do not sleep on the ground. They prefer a local lodge in the nearest small town or they could own a luxury RV (towing a trailer w/ the overbuilt Jeep). Talk about gas guzlers.

    Now, where are those green buggies?

    Forest Roads
    Backcountry routes may be signed – high clearance needed, or not. Black diamond, double diamond trail. Yikes 4×4 required, what! Did we miss a sign or take a wrong turn?

    SIGNS are not always reliable on the back roads.

    Small Signs: get shot at, run over, blown over and washed away with erosion
    … so best have a hard copy map (at all times).

    California dirt road heaven

    In Trinity, locals have been known to remove forest road signs to confuse tourists and prevent traffic in certain directions. I can’t imagine why. Cough, cough, Hyampom!

    PVT

    This brings us to private ROADS & LAND. Just because a dirt road is located in a forest or rural region doesn’t mean it is open to the public. Generally private lands are well marked w/ ‘No Trespassing’ notices, some fenced and gated. In Baja and in ranching areas in general, public access may be allowed to pass through. Inquire at a local ranger stations for the area you wish to explore.

    Do Not Litter

    Litter removal 101 should be the norm; Don’t Trash California! Teach your children well. Respect the land and always Tread Lightly!

    TreadLightly

    Quatal Canyon Red Dirt Road

    smoketreewashes

    jeepinpanamint

    Dumont Dunes OHV Desert Death Valley

    Dumont Dunes OHV / Desert Death Valley Xmas Trip

    Jawbone Canyon

    Jawbone California | Desert Mohave | OHV ATV

    Jawbone Canyon Road

    This is the North Mojave Desert, along Hwy 14, between the 395 junction & the town of MOJAVE CA. Jawbone Cyn is just south of Redrock Canyon State Park. Jawbone Canyon is big with off-roaders, so you’ll see plenty toy boxes & RVs w/ trailers out here. Open camping on desert washes; deep eroded canyons, minimal vegetation. The Dove Springs OHV area is closeby (on the other side of Red Rock, Randsburg ghost town is riding distance, and there is an information center & store w/ gas along the highway… Jawbone Store. 60 mph stretch. Blink & you will miss it.

    Jawbone Canyon has open dispersed camping on dirt backroads. Many campsites suitable for motorhomes, toy boxes & trailers. Sandy washes & tight canyons are abundant. Very popular off-roading area, usually frequented by offroaders, ATV, dirt bikes & any other rig you can wheel. Busy on holiday weekends & very popular in winter months.

    Jawbone Canyon dirt road climbs up from the rocky deserts to the joshua trees @ South Kelso Valley, passing the Bright Star Wilderness & Kelso Peak @ 5080′ elevation. The route eventually comes out at Hwy 178 just east of Lake Isabella, California. (This Kelso should not to be confused w/ Kelso, the train depot in the middle of the Mojave.)

    Jawbone Store
    Jawbone Information Center:

    760-373-1146

    There are many desert canyons to explore in this region. ATV, dirt bike, 4×4, or just a high clearance SUV will get you most places you wanna go. Routes include: Alphie Cyn, Butterbredt Cyn, Kelso Valley Rd, Dove Springs Canyon, Bird Springs Canyon, Horse Canyon, Last Chance Cyn, Sage Canyon & Cow Heaven Canyon. Bright Star Wilderness is back here near South Kelso Valley , but no OHV use is allowed on these precious peaks. Kelso Valley Road will lead past the Bright Star Wilderness, along Kelso Creek, up to Lake Isabella & Hwy 178 w/ the South Fork of the Kern River. See the photos in the Saabaru.

    The dirt route thru Horse Canyon leads past joshua trees, climbing in elevation to pinyon pines, up to the Pacific Crest Trail along the Scodie Mountains & dead ends at the small, historic McIver Springs cabin w/ wood burning stove and is well worth the venture. (PCT intersects Hwy 178 at Walker Pass just a few miles North of here)

    Across on the other side of the 395, is the Burro Schmidt Tunnel is hand dug oddity – way up behind Last Chance Canyon & is totally a family tourist destination these days.

    Jawbone Canyon OHV MAP

    Randsburg California

    Mojave California

    BLM Jawbone Cyn

    Jawbone Store

    Friends of Jawbone

    DSCN0035

    Calico Holiday Fest

    Christmas Calico Wagon

    Holiday Festival at Calico Ghost Town

    If you find yourself traveling through the giant Mojave desert around the holiday season, keep Calico Ghost Town in mind. Whether you are headed to Vegas or Utah, you can take a “stretch break” from the freeway driving, to see the historic cemetery, sip hot cocoa or browse the gift shops – just a few exits after Barstow on Interstate 15.

    The actual Holiday Festival is a one day celebration in late November that kicks off the winter season. Tree-lighting ceremony, native dancers, food, live music and Santa. FREE collectable, stuffed bear w/ a minimum purchase at participating local shops.

    Annual event: November
    909-387-2757

    Calico, CA

    sbcounty.gov/parks/Parks/CalicoGhostTown/

    holiday bear

    bottle house calico

    Jennie Lakes Wilderness

    horse meadow trails

    Sequoia / Kings Canyon / Mitchell Peak

    outta print

    USDA MAP may be out of print 2017

    Jennie Lakes Wilderness is located in between two popular National Parks, via the paved back roads off Sequoia Generals Highway 198. Monarch Wilderness is north of Jennie Lakes, bordering Kings Canyon.

    10,500 acres
    26 miles of trail

    Two lakes, Jennie Ellis Lake and Weaver Lake, set among granite outcroppings. Majority of the wWilderness is above 7,000 feet w/ red fir, lodgepole pine, and western white pine forest near treeline; abundance of spring wildflowers fill meadows. The two main lakes and Rowell Meadow are primary destinations for most backpackers wanting to camp overnight.

     

    Sequoia National Park

    Kings Canyon National Park

    Monarch Wilderness

    Impressive granite canyons, super steep. LOts of rugged rocky terrain, lower elevation to peaks of 11,000′. KINGS RIVER – Longest raging river in the Sierra, headwaters originating near Mount Whitney.

    Road#14S11 – Big Meadows Road

    National Forest & Wilderness Permits –

    USDA Sequoia NF

    More Wilderness Info & Links –

    sierrawild.gov/wilderness/jennie-lakes
    summitpost.org/jennie-lakes
    Jennie Lakes Wilderness Wiki

    Marvin Pass trailhead

    Marvin Pass trailhead, 12 miles down Rd#14S11

    Another Big Meadows?
    Indeed, southern SEQ NF, on the East Kern Plateau.