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

7N01 – Stanislaus NF

Spicer Meadow Reservoir & more lakes: Paved Forest Rd #7N01

Spicer, Utica & Union Reservoirs, Central Sierra, Stanislaus National Forest

summit lake

Stanislaus National Forest
North Fork of the Stanislaus River
Highland Creek
Carson Iceberg Wilderness Area
Spicer Meadow Reservoir (6418′ elev)
Union Reservoir (6850′ elev)
Utica Reservoir

Spicer Meadow Reservoir can also be found on various publications, listed as Spicer Meadows, Spicer Mdws, Spicer Lake and Spicer Reservoir.

tent camping

Ebbett’s Pass is California State Route (SR 4) Highway 4, which cuts thru the middle of the Sierra Nevada mountains (east-west). Wilderness peaks and rivers surround this whole region. Deep snow pack is common, so much of this region is off-limits half the year (or more). Always check with local rangers by phone before venturing out, as winter conditions can keep these roads closed late into the year.

Topo Maps of this Region:

Stanislaus National Forest Map USDA
Carson Iceberg Wilderness Map USDA
Carson, Emigrant, Mokelumne Map NatGeo
Sierra Nevada Topo Map

Wilderness Maps

N of Arnold, California; Continue up SR 4. Passing Calaveras Big Trees State Park & Camp Connell; After Big Meadow Campground, take the paved right turn for Spicer Meadow; This is forest road 7N01. Meandering thru a forest and descending in elevation, road will dead end at Spicer Reservoir.

7N01, the main paved mountain road, is located on the south side of the highway. The highway turn off reads ‘Spicer Reservoir’. Suitable for travel w/ RVs and trucks with boat trailers. Quite curvy, scenic and about 7 miles long. There are developed campgrounds in the vicinity.

The dirt side roads off the pavement can be narrow, muddy, rocky and overgrown, so be cautious when exploring. Choosing a dispersed camp site should be done during daylight hours, and will require a campfire permit ahead of time. Use an existing camp site whenever possible, instead of creating new ones.

freespice

Several man-made reservoirs attract outdoor seekers, mountain bikers, campers, canoes and fishermen. Kayakers tend to love Union and Utica, but power boats and sail boats prefer Spicer Lake.

Volcanic features mix with Sierra granite in this part of the forest, and geologic formations make for interesting hikes. Mountain biking is common around these lakes, as well as day hiking and backpacking.

Spicer Lake

NFS Campgrounds in the region: NFS

  • Stanislaus River Campground
  • Spicer Campground
  • Spicer Group Camp
  • Campgrounds only open June-September. Some campsites at the campground are wheelchair accessible. Boat ramp located near campgrounds.

    outdoor recreation:
    backpacking
    boating
    bouldering
    camping
    canoeing
    fishing
    floating
    granite
    hiking
    kayaking
    mountain biking
    lakes
    sailing
    swimming
    trails
    wildflowers

    Left fork turn off, Dirt Road #7N05 leads out to Utica & Union Reservoirs. No motorized boats allowed on those two lakes. No developed campgrounds back that way either. No RV spots; only primitive style camping.

    Another dirt road treks steeply up the hill from Union Reservoir to Lake Alpine (at the highway). That primitive truck trails is actually a (somewhat designated, but not well-signed) 4×4 route and suitable for high clearance vehicles only.

    car camping lakes

    Spur Road #7N29Y is a small dirt road which leads a couple miles into the forest, over to trailheads and primitive camping options. Ideal for accessing all the lakes (on foot) from this prime location. A fire permit is required. No water, no bathrooms, no facilities.

  • Elephant Rock Lake
  • Summit Lake (7068′ elev)
  • elephant rock

    Closest small towns are:

    ARNOLD
    BEAR VALLEY
    LAKE ALPINE, CA

    lake camps

    7N01 – Los Padres NF
    There is another Forest Road in California named 7N01, but that one is a 4×4 OHV access route @ Dutchman Campground, located in south part of Los Padres National Forest. We have mention of it on the page for Frazier Park Camping.

    Eastern Sierra Hiking

    Eastern Sierra Hiking Trails – Mammoth Hikes

    Autumn Bliss Hike

    Desert ghost towns to Sierra meadows & waterfalls, Inyo National Forest offers plenty of diversity for scenery. To list all the hikes in the Eastern Sierra would be obsurd, cuz there are so many trails. This side of the Sierra Nevada is all about hiking, fishing & camping.Inyo forest map

    No matter where you hike you will probably get a great view over the Owens Valley, Long Valley Caldera or Mono Lake. So that means most of those trails are hiking up a canyon, or a ridge line. Thousands of trails over this region require a good map to make the best decision for your hiking interest.

    US HWY 395: The Eastern Sierra is one of the premier hiking destinations of California. Featuring the granite crags of the HIgh Sierra peaks. Mount Whitney, the tallest peak is closest to Lone Pine. Southern Californians love Eastern Sierra destinations, cuz they can avoid Los Angeles Basin and stay outta traffic.

    Lone Pine Lake – Whitney Portal is a great, but crowded place for hiking. DO NOT ATTEMPT to hike to Mount Whitney in one day! Leave it to the seasoned pros. The first good stop up the Whitney Trail is gorgeous Lone Pine Lake, a great moderate day hike from there.

    Alabama Hills – just below Mt. Whitney and has a totally different landscape than the backdrop granite Sierras behind. Try some boulder hopping & explore the dirt roads. Bring your mountain bike too.

    Cottonwood Lakes (Pacific Crest Trail) – day hikes to alpine lakes. US 395 @ Lone Pine, W on Whitney Portal Rd. Left on Horseshoe Meadow Rd & continue up 19 mi. to the Horseshoe Meadow campground. Mostly a trail head camp, way, way up there. Open May – November

    Kearsarge Pass – from 9000′ Onion Valley you can access the incredible High Sierra & numerous alpine lakes. The elevation gain makes this a full days hike; rated strenuous. Or continue on w/ backpack into Kings Canyon National Park.

    Devils Postpile – back behind Mammoth Mountain, creeks, forest & cool geology awaits. Plenty hiking trails.

    FALL COLORS: Autumn is the best time to enjoy the gorgeous aspen groves, as they change colors w/ the onset of winter.

    Eastern Sierra Peaks

    Topo maps, wilderness hiking maps
    Equestrian trails, OHV maps –


    Sierra High Country Hikes
    Originally uploaded by danamight

    Trailhead @ Onion Valley leads up to impressive alpine lakes, Kearsarge Pass & Kings Canyon High Country.

    Eastern Sierra communities include:

    Alabama Hills

    Alabama Hills @ Lone Pine, CA

    El Dorado Campgrounds

    El Dorado Camping

    Kirkwood Lake

    Kirkwood Lake, California

    El Dorado National Forest
    Carson Pass Hwy 88, Ebbetts Pass Hwy 4, Gold Rush Country
    Sierra Nevada Mountains, Alpine Lakes

    CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS

    campground elev spots veg toilet water notes
    Airport Flat Campground 5300′ 16 vault no Ice House Reservoir
    Azalea Cove Campground 4900′ 10 vault lake Union Valley Reservoir
    Big Meadows Campground 5300′ 54 pines flush piped handicap access
    Blue Lake Lower Camp 8100′ 16 vault piped PG&E; fish, boat, camp
    Blue Lake Dam Upper 8200′ 25 vault piped PG&E; fish, boat, camp
    Caples Lake Campground 7800′ 35 pines vault piped fishing lake
    Capps Crossing Campground 5200′ 12 pines vault piped gold panning
    China Flat Campground 4800′ 25 vault piped Silver Fork Rd
    Dru Barner Campground 3200′ 16 flush piped equestrian trails
    Gerle Creek Campground 5300′ 50 pines vault piped handicap access
    Fashoda Campground 4900′ 30 vault piped handicap access
    Hell Hole Campground 5200′ 10 vault piped walk-in
    Upper Hell Hole Campground 4600′ 15 vault lake Hell Hole Reservoir
    Ice House Reservoir Camp 5500′ 83 vault lake handicap access
    Jones Fork Campground 4900′ 10 vault lake Union Valley Reservoir
    Kirkwood Campground 7600′ 12 pines vault piped narrow road; fishing
    Lone Rock Campground 4800′ 5 vault lake Union Valley Reservoir
    Loon Lake Campground 6500′ 62 pines vault piped equestrian; group site too
    Lovers Leap Campground 5800′ 21 pines vault piped rock climbing
    Lumberyard Campground 6500′ 5 pines vault RV access
    Middle Creek Campground 8200′ 5 pines vault piped fishing creek
    Middle Fork Cosumnes River 6780′ 5 vault crk PG&E, swim, fish
    Mokelumne River Camp 3200′ 8 vault crk swim
    Moore Creek Campground 3200′ 8 vault crk swim
    Northshore Campground 6378′ 15 vault lake Loon Lake Campground
    Northwind Campground 5500′ 9 vault lake Ice House Reservoir
    Pardoes Point Campground 5900′ 10 pit no Bear River Reservoir Rd
    Pipi Campground 3900′ 51 pit no handicap access
    Sand Flat Campground 3900′ 29 pit no fishing
    Silver Fork Campground 5500′ 35 vault piped fishing
    Silver Lake Campground 7200′ 62 pines vault piped boating lake
    South Fork Campground 5200′ 17 vault piped fishing
    South Shore Campground 5900′ 22 vault piped Bear River Reservoir
    Strawberry Point Camp 5500′ 10 vault lake Ice House Reservoir
    Stumpy Meadows Campgr 4400′ 10 vault lake handicap access
    Sugar Pine Campground 6000′ 10 vault no boating
    Sunset Campground 4900′ 131 vault piped boating
    Wench Creek Campground 4900′ 100 vault crk boating
    Wentworth Springs Camp 6200′ 8 vault crk 4WD recommended
    West Point Campground 4875′ 8 vault lake Union Valley Reservoir
    White Azalea Campground 3500′ 6 vault crk Mokelumne River
    Wolf Creek Campground 8200′ 42 vault piped boating, fishing
    Woods Lake Campground 4900′ 25 vault pump handicap access
    Yellowjacket Campground 4900′ 40 vault piped boating, fishing

    see more about El Dorado National Forest

    waterfalls

    nearby towns –

    El Dorado Forest Maps –

    Ansel Adams Wilderness

    anselwoodsign

    Alpine high country hiking, Sierra Nevada mountains, California

    Ansel Adams Wilderness Area

    Ansel Adams Trail Map, Tom Harrison
    Ansel Adams Map, Forest Service USDA
    Ansel Adams Map, NatGeo

    Ansel Adams Hiking Map
    The Ansel Adams Wilderness is an area in the Sierra Nevada of California. The wilderness is part of the Sierra and Inyo National Forests, in the Eastern Sierra portion of the range, overlooking Mono Lake. Yosemite EAST is what NatGeo likes to call it. The wilderness spans 231,533 acres with Yosemite National Park lies to the north and northwest, while the John Muir Wilderness lies to the south.

    The wilderness was established as part of the original Wilderness Act in 1964 as the Minarets Wilderness. The 109,500-acre Minarets Wilderness was created by enlarging and renaming the Mount Dana-Minarets Primitive Area.

    In 1984, after his death, the area was expanded and renamed in honor of Ansel Adams, well-known environmentalist and nature photographer who is famous for his black and white landscape photographs of the Sierra Nevada.

    Ansel Adams Wilderness Map

    outdoor recreation –

    • backpacking
    • camping
    • fishing
    • hiking
    • horseback
    • ice climbing
    • lakes
    • mountaineering
    • peaks
    • wildflowers

    surrounding park & forest lands –

    nearby towns –

    leeviningvalley

    lee vining canyon

    Ansel Adams Wiki
    Ansel Adams Hiking on Summit Post

    Day hikes or overnight backpacking trips require a Wilderness permit and can be obtained at the local ranger station. A good topo map will also prove invaluable on your hike. Access trailheads for Ansel Adams Wilderness from EAST and WESTERN sides of the Sierra Nevada range.

    Ansel Adams Trailheads from the west –

    Onion Springs Meadow trailhead, Vermillion @ Lake Edison (Sierra NF)

    Isberg trailhead & Mammoth trailhead @ Granite Creek Campground via Beasore Road, way up behind Bass Lake (Sierra NF)

    Isberg Pass trailhead from Yosemite National Park

    Ansel Adams Trailheads from the east –

    Bloody Canyon, Walker Lake trailhead, near Grant Lake on June Lake Loop (Inyo NF)

    Rush Creek / Fern Lake trailhead, near Silver Lake on June Lake Loop (Inyo NF)

    Agnew Meadows trailhead & Minaret Vista trailhead, Mammoth Lakes CA (Inyo NF)

    Devil’s Postpile trailhead, behind Mammoth Lakes CA (Inyo NF)

    Fern Lake Reflection

    Fern Lake, day hike from Hwy 158 (June Lake Loop)