California

The Chemung Mine located just outside of Bridgeport, CA is just one of many great California 4x4 Trails.  Photograph by James L Rathbun
The Chemung Mine located just outside of Bridgeport, CA is just one of many great California 4×4 Trails. Photograph by James L Rathbun

California offers some great history and 4×4 destinations. The state boasts a history going back over 10,000 years with the Native Americans and was discovered by the Europeans in 1542. Since then, the state has seen dramatic population explosions and financial booms with the discovery of gold at Sutters Mill in 1848. California 4×4 trails allow the explorer an opportunity to see history and some outstanding landscapes. The great photographer Ansel Adams made his home here.

Thunderstorm in Death Valley California 4x4 Trails National Park
Thunderstorm in Death Valley National Park

The southern half of California is mostly an arid land, while the central and eastern sections of the state feature some of the best mountain ranges in the world. The High Sierra range dissects the state down the middle and features Mt. Whitney at over 14,000 feet in elevation. Ever diverse, just about 120 miles away to the east, Death Valley features the second lowest elevation on Earth. The high peaks of the White Mountains host the oldest living tree, the Bristle Cone pine tree, and the coastal forests and western slopes of the High Sierra feature the worlds largest Redwood trees.

A Bristlecone Pine (not the oldest) located in the White Mountains, CA
A Bristlecone Pine (not the oldest) located in the White Mountains, CA

The western side of the state, features the higher population growth areas and the Golden State coastal landscapes are world famous for good reason. California is a large state with diverse landscapes, weather, people, culture and history.

The Merced River flowing through Yosemite Valley.
The Merced River flowing through Yosemite Valley.

California Destinations and 4×4 Trails

California 4×4 Trails

Achy-Breaky

Achy-Breaky is a very difficult, trail which circumnavigates Watkins Peak.  The trail requires a well built 4x4 and a GPS to even stay on the…
Looking down on the Alabama Hills and Owens Valley from Whitney Portal

Alabama Hills

Located near Lone Pine, CA the Alabama Hills are an awesome spot to visit and explore in Inyo County.  Large boulder formations erupt from the…
Aurora, NV Photograph by James L Rathbun

Aurora Nevada

Aurora, Nevada is a ghost town in Mineral County near the California border. Aurora is often mentioned as a footnote to larger better preserved town…
The Standard Mill, Bodie, CA. Photograph by James L Rathbun

Bodie and Aurora rivalry continues to this day

Two towns located in the hills above Mono Lake maintain, the Bodie and Aurora rivalry continues even now, long past their demise.  Bodie, CA and…
Cerro Gordo overlooking the then full Owens Lake.

Cerro Gordo Californa

Located in the Inyo Mountains on the eastern side of Owens Valley, Cerro Gordo California is a currently a ghost town after almost 100 years…
Crowells Mill under construction in Chloride City, CA about 1915

Chloride City California

Chloride City California is located within Death Valley National Park and Inyo County, California. The town arose out of silver discoveries in nearby Chloride Cliff…
Bear Bear Lake, California

Clarks Grade – 1N54

A steep and scenic descent from the top of Skyline drive and Snow Summit down to Angeles Oaks.  This road is steep enough, that low…
Cleghorn located outside of Big Bear, CA

Cleghorn Ridge

Cleghorn located outside of Big Bear, CA Cleghorn Ridge is a 4x4 trail which leads from the I-15 at the Cleghorn exit to Silverlake State…
Dishpan Springs, Big Bear, CA

Dish Pan Springs – 3N34

Also known as the Deep Creek Trail, Dish Pan Springs offers a short but hardcore trail in Big Bear. Dishpan springs trail contains large boulders…
William Lewis Manly (April 6, 1820 – February 5, 1903)

Fish Canyon Escape Trail

William Lewis Manly (April 6, 1820 – February 5, 1903) The Fish Canyon Escape Trail is a route discovered by William Manly as an escape…

Gold Mountain 3N69

Gold Mountain Trail Head The Gold Mountain 3N69 Trail can be found in the San Bernardino National Forest near Big Bear Lake. The favored direction…

Goler Wash and Mengel Pass

Goler Wash and Mengel Pass over a route into Butte Valley from Panamint Valley. Although not technically in Death Valley, this trail is consider part…

Henry Wade Escape Route

The Henry Wade Escape Route is an easy 4x4 trail suitable for almost any vehicle and connects highway 127 to Badwater Road. The route is…

Holcomb Valley Road 3N14

Holcomb Valley Road 3N14 takes you through scenic Holcomb Valley Holcomb Valley Road 3N14, is a main artery in the road system above and behind…

Jacoby Canyon 3N61

Jacoby Canyon 3N61 Trail head Jacoby Canyon 3N61 is a trail which can be found in the San Bernardino National Forest near Big Bear Lake.…
Bear Bear Lake, California

John Bull Trail 3N10

The John Bull Trail 3N10 has the solid reputation as one of the toughest and most challenging trails in the Big Bear mountains of San Bernardino…
These mine cart rails are a little small to pull the amount of gold claimed to be here.

Kokoweef Mine

The Kokoweef Mine and in fact all of the trails and mines located in the Ivanpah / Mountain Pass area represent exactly why I started…
Lippencott Mine Road from Racetrack Valley, Death Valley National Park, CA

Lippincott Mine Road

The Lippincott Mine Road is a one way road from Death Valley's Racetrack Playa to Saline Valley. It is a steep trail which is not…
The cabin found at the Lost Burrow Mine is in good shape.

Lost Burro Mine

Founded in 1907 when Bert Shively picked up a rock to throw at some stray burros and discovered gold, the Lost burro Mine is a…
A horizontal shaft in the Ivanpah Mountains.

Morning Star Mine

Located in the Ivanpah Mountains, the Morning Star Mine is a gold / silver mine located near to California / Nevada border near Mountain Pass.…
Government Holes in the central section of the Old Mojave Road.

Old Mojave Road

The Old Mojave Road (Government Road) is an east-west route that enters the Mojave National Preserve off the highway 95 in Nevada, and Afton Canyon…
The Racing stones.

Racetrack Valley

TeaKettle Junction lets you know you are starting to get close to the Racetrack. Racetrack valley is a rough graded road which departs the Ubehebe…
Silver Star Mine Cabin

Silver Star Mine

The Silver Star Mine is a small mine site located off of the Zinc Mountain Road in San Bernardino County, California.
Skidoo, CA 1907

Skidoo California

Skidoo California was famous in the first decade of the 20th century when gold had been found in Inyo County and the town established in…
Bear Bear Lake, California

Skyline Drive 2N10

Skyline Drive 2N10 is the unofficial name for USFS Road 2N10 that begins just west of Big Bear village off Mill Creek road, and heads…
Bear Bear Lake, California

Snow Slide Trail – 2N13

Snow Slide Trail (2N13) connects Green Valley Lake to Fawnskin, CA. The Green Valley Lake trail head is located by the campground, while the Fawnskin…
Bear Bear Lake, California

Sugarpine Mountain

Sugarpine Mountain trail is moderately difficult and starts at the edge of San Bernardino and finishes is the Silverlake State Park.  The trail is designated…
Titus Canyon, a narrow canyon drive in Death Valley National Park, CA

Titus Canyon

Titus Canyon has it all, rugged mountains, colorful rock formations, a small ghost town, mines, petroglyphs, wildlife, rare plants and spectacular canyon narrows as a…
Ubehebe Mine with tramway visible at the top of the hill, Death Valley, CA

Ubehebe Lead Mine

The Ubehebe Lead Mine is located just west of the Racetrack Playa Road off of the Bonnie Claire Road.  Discovered in 1906, the mine is…
Looking down at the Lippencott Mine Road from the Lippencott Mine, with Saline Valley in the distance.

Warm Springs Road

A short side trip from the Saline Valley Road to a Hot Springs in Death Valley. Looking down at the Lippencott Mine Road from the…

White Mountain Road

Locathed in Inyo County, the White Mountain Road is a high altitude road that travels north from Highway 168 out of Big Pine and into…
White Top Mountain Road view from the Lost Burrow Mine Road, Death Valley, CA

White Top Mountain

A hilly and mountainous road connecting the Hidden Valley road to the White Top Mountain mining area. White Top Mountain Road view from the Lost…
Bear Bear Lake, California

Willow Creek Road – 3N34

Willow Creek road is an easy gentle ride which runs from Hooks Creek Road to Highway 173. Willow creek can get rather full after heavy…

California Ghosttowns

Aurora, NV Photograph by James L Rathbun

Aurora Nevada

Aurora, Nevada is a ghost town in Mineral County near the California border. Aurora is often mentioned as a footnote to larger better preserved town…
Ballarat, California - Marriedtofilm at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Malafaya using CommonsHelper.

Ballarat California

Ballarat, California Located in Inyo County, Ballarat California is a ghost town which supposedly has a few residents living their dream within the town. Ballarat…
The Standard Mill, Bodie, CA. Photograph by James L Rathbun

Bodie and Aurora rivalry continues to this day

Two towns located in the hills above Mono Lake maintain, the Bodie and Aurora rivalry continues even now, long past their demise.  Bodie, CA and…
The Standard Mill, Bodie, CA. Photograph by James L Rathbun

Bodie California

Bodie, California is the ghost town by which all others are judged.  Located at 8300 in the Bodie Hills above Mono Lake, Bodie is the…
Cerro Gordo overlooking the then full Owens Lake.

Cerro Gordo Californa

Located in the Inyo Mountains on the eastern side of Owens Valley, Cerro Gordo California is a currently a ghost town after almost 100 years…
Goffs, CA

Goffs California

Originally known as Blake, Goffs, California is a small unincorporated community located off of Route 66 in the Mojave desert near the Piute Mountains.  Originally…
Greenwater Mining District, CA 1906

Greenwater California

In 1904, a copper strike near Greenwater Spring and ensuing rush to profit caused the formation of Greenwater in Inyo County, California. Originally known by…
Cashier Mill ruin and Pete Aguereberry, 1916. From Dane Coolidge Collection,

Harrisburg California

Harrisburg California is a ghost town is located at 4987 feet above sea level in Inyo County and currently part of Death Valley National Park.…
Leadfield Sign, Death Valley, California

Leadfield California

Leadfield California is a ghost town located in Inyo County and Death Valley National Park and found on the Titus Canyon Trail. The town boom…
Mill site from the middle section of Masonic, California. Photograph by James L Rathbun

Masonic California

Originally known as Lorena, Masonic California is a ghost town located in the mountains north east of Bridgeport, California.  Masonic was founded in 1860 by…
Panamint City Stamp Mill

Panamint City California

Panamint City California - 1875 Panamint City California is a ghost town and silver mine site located in Inyo County. The town site was built…
Skidoo, CA 1907

Skidoo California

Skidoo California was famous in the first decade of the 20th century when gold had been found in Inyo County and the town established in…

 

California Campgrounds

Afton Canyon Campground, Mojave, CA

Afton Canyon Campground

The Afton Canyon Campground offer amazing access and camping for the Old Mojave Road, surroundings areas of the Mojave. The dry, desert campground is found…
Our campsite from a distance in Caruthers Canyon

Camp Phallus – New York Mountains

Located in Caruther's Canyons of the New York Mountains, Camp Phallus is named for a "unique" rock formation visible from the campsite. The campsite offers…
Death Valley National Park

Emigrant

About 2150 foot elevation.   Typical campground amenities with more services to the north-east at Stovepipe Wells Village. Dirt at campsites and pavement at picnic area.…
Death Valley National Park

Eureka Dunes

Eureka Dunes are a small localize sand dunes formation with Death Valley National Monument. The dunes are located north of Ubehebe crater and With roughly…

French Camp Campground – A quiet campground

Camping in the High Sierras is not as easy as it once was, however this fact offers one the ability to explore and remove oneself…
Homestake, Death Valley

Homestake Dry Camp

Homestake Dry Camp - A primative campsite at Racetrack Valley The Homestake Dry camp is a primitive campground located in Racetrack valley inside Death Valley…
Death Valley National Park

Mahogany Flat

Mahogany Flat Campground lies at 8,200 feet in the Panamint Mountain Range. It provides access to hiking and backpacking, as well as mountaineering opportunities. The…

Mesquite Springs Campground

Mesquite Springs Campground located near Scotty's Castle in Death Valley Mesquite Springs is a campground in Death Valley National Park, Located just a few short…
Mid Hills Campsite in the Mojave National Preserve March 2018 after a rainstorm.

Mid Hills Campground, Mojave National Preserve

Located in deep in the heart of the Mojave National Preserve there is an abundance of campsites to suit everyone.  The Mid Hills campground was…
Sand dunes near Stovepipe Wells in Death Valley National Park

Stovepipe Wells

Stovepipe Wells Campgound is located in Stovepipe wells just off the 190 highway in Death Valley National Park. Located about 25 miles away from Furnace…
Death Valley National Park

Sunset Campground

Sunset Campground is another large, flat parking lot campground primary for RV camping. It is with a mile of the Furnace Creek Ranch Resort and…
Death Valley National Park

Texas Springs Campground

Texas Springs Campground is another large, flat parking lot campground primary for RV camping. It is with a mile of the Furnace Creek Ranch Resort…
Death Valley National Park

Thorndike Campground

Thorndike campground is located at 7,400 feet in the Panamint Mountains and is accessible to high clearance vehicles only. Depending on road conditions, 4-wheel drive…
Death Valley National Park

Wildrose

Open All Year Located at 4,100 feet in the Panamint Mountains near Death Valley. Featuring 23 sites, with tables, fireplaces, and pit toilets. Drinking water…

Important: if you want to have a campfire in California, you need a Campfire permit. http://permit.preventwildfiresca.org/

California Mammals

Black Tailed Jackrabbit enjoying the shade of a Joshua Tree

Black Tailed Jackrabbit ( Lepus californicus )

Black Tailed Jackrabbit enjoying the shade of a Joshua Tree. The Black Tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) commonly known as the American Desert Hare makes its…
Coyote (Canis latrans) enduring a snow storm in Joshua Tree National Park

Coyote (Canis latrans)

Coyote (Canis latrans) A symbol of the American Southwest, the howl of the humble Coyote (Canis latrans) is synonymous with wild places. A member of…
Two well fed mustangs near Cold Creek, Nevada

Mustang (Equus ferus caballus)

A lone mustang is the symbol of wild, power and freedom Left behind by Spanish explorers and settlers, the Mustang ( Equus ferus caballus )…
A solitary Pronghorn ( Antilocapra americana ) found near Golbin Valley, Utah

Pronghorn ( Antilocapra americana )

Commonly known as an antelope, the Pronghorn is an even toed or hoofed mammal found in the plains of the western United States of America.

California Reptiles

Desert Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos)

Desert Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos)

Desert Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos) Desert Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos), also known as the "horny toad", is a common North American reptile and found throughout…
California Desert Tortoise emerging from a hiding place...

Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)

One of  the more unique and quite frankly cool animals found in the Mojave Desert is the Desert Tortoise ( Gopherus agassizii ).  My family…
Juvenile Speckled Rattle Snake found in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Speckled Rattlesnake ( Crotalus mitchellii )

The Speckled Rattlesnake is fairly common pit viper found in southern California, southern Nevada, western Arizona and south-western Utah and down the Pacific coast into…
A male Zebra-Tailed Lizard ( Callisaurus draconoides )

Zebra Tailed Lizard ( Callisaurus draconoides )

The Zebra-Tailed Lizard is a medium sized lizard which features a long black and white striped tail and commonly found in California, Arizona and Nevada.…

California Wild Flowers

The California Poppy the state flower of California.

California Poppy ( Eschscholzia californica )

The California Poppy the state flower of California. As the name implies, the California Poppy is that state flower of California. However, this little flower…
California Wild Rose (Rosa californica) found around Convict Lake, California

California Wild Rose (Rosa californica)

California Wild Rose (Rosa californica) found around Convict Lake, California The California Wild Rose (Rosa californica) is a native species of Rose, which is found…
Chicalote (Argemone munita)

Chicalote (Argemone munita)

Chicalote (Argemone munita) A species of prickly poppy, Chicalote (Argemone munita) is also known as the flatbud prickly poppy. A native of California, the Chicalote…
Coyote Melon (Cucurbita palmata)

Coyote Melon (Cucurbita palmata)

Coyote Melon (Cucurbita palmata) Coyote Melon (Cucurbita palmata), also known as Coyote Gourd, is a flowering plant common in the desert southwest and known to…
A Davey Gilia stalk poking up between the California Poppies in the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve.

Davy Gilia (Gilia latiflora)

A Davey Gilia stalk poking up between the California Poppies in the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. Davy Gilia (Gilia latiflora) also known as Hollyleaf gilia…
Desert Marigolds located off the Old Mojave Road.

Desert Marigolds (Baileya multiradiata)

Desert Marigolds photographed near the Old Mojave Road. Desert Marigolds (Baileya multiradiata) are an abundant and well distributed flower across the desert south west. The…
Desert Primrose photographed in Anza Burego, CA

Desert Primrose (Oenothera deltoides)

Desert Primrose photographed in Anza Burego, CA The Desert Primrose ( Oenothera deltoides ) is a small bush-like flowering planet with delicate white flowers.  The primrose ranges…
Fremont's Phacelia (Phacelia fremontii) photographed in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Fremont’s Phacelia (Phacelia fremontii)

Fremont's Phacelia (Phacelia fremontii) is a small delicate looking flowering plant commonly commonly found in the southwestern United States including Nevada, Arizona and California. The…
Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)

Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)

Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) The Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) is a perennial herb and orange wildflower which is commonly found in Nevada, California, Utah and Arizona. This…
Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata)

Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata)

The Giant Red Indian Paintbrush or Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata) is a wildflower and perennial which is quite common in the western United States, including…
Mojave-aster ( Xylorhiza tortifolia )

Mojave-aster ( Xylorhiza tortifolia )

Mojave-aster ( Xylorhiza tortifolia ) A member of the sunflower family, the Mojave-aster ( Xylorhiza tortifolia ) boasts a delicate lavender flower in the harsh…
Owl's Clover

Owl’s Clover (Castilleja exserta)

Owls Clover (Castilleja exserta) is a small flowering plant which can grow about 1 foot tall.   The Owl's Clover is a native plant to…
Silvery Lupine (Lupinus argenteus)

Silvery Lupine (Lupinus argenteus)

Silvery Lupine (Lupinus argenteus) Silvery Lupine (Lupinus argenteus) is a fairly common vibrant purple wild flower and is common in much of Western North America…
Snow plant (Sarcodes sanguinea) in Big Bear, California

Snow plant (Sarcodes sanguinea)

Snow plant (Sarcodes sanguinea) in Big Bear, California The Snow plant (Sarcodes sanguinea) is a rather rare and unique member of the plant community. The…
Photographed in the White Moundtains, Phlox diffusa is a small white flowering plant which prefers alpine and sub-alpine environments.

Spreading Phlox ( Phlox diffusa )

Spreading Phlox ( Phlox diffusa ) is a perennial shrub with small needle like leaves.  This is a small white flowering plant prefers alpine, sub-alpine…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.