San Bernardino

The Ring Trail is a short fun little hike in the Mojave National Preserve.  Photo by James L Rathbun
The Ring Trail is a short fun little hike in the Mojave National Preserve. Photo by James L Rathbun

San Bernardino County, CA is one of the largest counties in the county and home to a wealth of history and places to explore. The County offers a lot of diversity in biomes and geography which range from the high peaks of San Jacinto and San Gorgonio, which reaches heights of 11,499 feet in elevation, down to the low desert elevations. Death Valley National Park hosts the second lowest evaluation on the planet, down at Badwater and Furnace Creek is the hottest on record. The county is huge at 20,105 square miles and with a low population of just over 2 million people, offers a lot of ability to explore and get away from it all. The bulk of this population is centered around the San Bernardino Mountains.

San Bernardino County hosts a variety of national protected areas, and also includes the Mojave Nations Preserve, Joshua Tree National Park and part of Death Valley National Park.

All campfires and gas stove fires on public lands in California require a California Camp Fire permit which is free and available online at http://www.preventwildfireca.org/Campfire-Permit/

Kelso Depot, Mojave CA.  Photo by James L Rathbun
Kelso Depot, Mojave CA. Photo by James L Rathbun

Areas of Interest

Big Bear, CA

Big Bear Lake covered in snow.  Photo by James L Rathbun
Big Bear Lake covered in snow. Photo by James L Rathbun

Big Bear, CA is a mountain year round resort community in the San Bernardino Mountains. The cute little town is a which offers skiing in the cold winter months and lots of fishing, boating and 4×4 opportunities the rest of the year. They also have a pretty nice little Oktoberfest for those so inclined.

Joshua Treen National Park

Joshua Tree from Nipton Road. - Photo by James L Rathbun
Joshua Tree from Nipton Road. – Photo by James L Rathbun

Joshua Tree National Park is located San Bernardino County, California. The park encompasses roughly 90,636 acres of about 1,235.4 sqaure miles of the Mojave and the Colorado Deserts. The area is found on the border of San Bernardino and Riverside, California.

The area was set aside designated a national monument in 1936 by President Franklyn Delano Roosevelt. The park was again elevated to a nation park in 1994 by President Bill Clinton.

Mojave National Preserve

The Mojave Desert dominates portions of southeastern California and smaller parts of central California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah and northwestern Arizona. Mojave 4×4 trails offer access to everything this huge desert offers in amazing biodiversity, climates and history which is truly unique. Throughout the area, ghost towns and mines dot this harsh landscape. Typically, the area receives less than 15 inches of rain per year, and temperatures regularly exceed 110 degrees in the summer months.

Trail Map

4×4 Trails

California Desert Tortoise emerging from a hiding place...

Achy-Breaky

Achy-Breaky is a very difficult, trail which circumnavigates Watkins Peak in San Bernardino County, California. This trail is one of many on the Stoddard Wells…

Clarks Grade 1N54

Clarks Grade 1N54 is a steep and scenic descent from the top of Skyline drive and Snow Summit down to Angeles Oaks from Big Bear.…
Cleghorn located outside of Big Bear, CA

Cleghorn Ridge 2N47

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…

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…

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.…

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…
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…
Silver Star Mine Cabin - Photo by James L Rathbun

Silver Star Mine

The Silver Star Mine is a small mine site located off of the Zinc Mountain Road in San Bernardino County, 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…

Snow Slide Trail 2N13

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

Sugarpine Mountain 2N49

Sugarpine Mountain trail is moderately difficult and starts at the edge of San Bernardino and finishes in the Silverlake State Park.  The trail is designated…

Willow Creek Road 3N34

Willow Creek road is an easy gentle ride located near Big Bear, California. The easy trail runs from Hooks Creek Road to Highway 173 and…

Points of Interest

Atolia and mine in the Mojave Desert, circa 1908 postcard.

Atolia California – San Bernardino County Ghost Town

Atolia is a ghost town and tungsten mine located in the Mojave Desert in northwestern San Bernardino County, California. The town is located just off…

Bert Smith’s Cabin

Bert Smith's Cabin overlooks Camp Rock Springs Located deep in the Mojave National Reserve exists a small stone building, known as Bert Smith's Cabin, which…
Calico California

Calico California – San Bernardino Count Ghost Town

Calico California is a ghost town located just outside of Barstow in Mojave desert of San Bernardino, California. The town began its like in 1881…

Camp Rock Springs

A small oasis and valuable water supply along the Old Mojave Road, Camp Rock Springs was the site of a military outpost established on December…
View showing steamboat Cochan on the Colorado River near Yuma, Arizona in 1900 - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Colorado Steamships

From 1852 through 1909, Colorado Steamships ferried people and supplies up and down the Colorado River to mining camps and outposts. Following the discovery of…

Doble California – San Bernardino Ghost Town

Doble California is a gold mining town and ghost town which is located off the western shore of Lake Baldwin in San Bernardino, California. The…
Evening Star Mine, Mojave, California - 2015 Photo by James L Rathbun

Evening Star Mine

The Evening Star Mine first came to our attention in the winter of 2014, while researching the mining history of the Mountain Pass, CA.
Goffs, CA

Goffs California – San Bernardino County Ghost Town

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…
Photo by James L Rathbun

Goldome Mill

The heavily vandalized Goldome Mill outside of Ivanpah, California. Photo by James L Rathbun The Goldome Mill is an abandoned modern mill site in the…
Government Holes in the central section of the Old Mojave Road.

Government Holes

The tale of the the Old Mojave Road is the story of water, the more important resource in the desert.  Along the Old Mojave Road…
Ivanpah - Bidwell Mill

Ivanpah California – San Bernardino County Ghost Town

Not of be confused with two others sites of the same name, Ivanpah is a ghost town and mine site located along the Eastern edge…
Kelso Depot, Mojave CA. Photo by James L Rathbun

Kelso Depot

The story of the westward expansion is the story of the railroads.  Beginning in 1862, the Union Pacific Railroad sought expansion opportunities along the western…
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…
A live stock watering trough in the Mojave Desert.. Photograph by James L Rathbun

Mojave Goldfish

Over Presidents day weekend, my wife and I were travelling back from Big Bear, CA to our house after a visit with family towards our…
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.…
Silver Star Mine Cabin - Photo by James L Rathbun

Silver Star Mine

The Silver Star Mine is a small mine site located off of the Zinc Mountain Road in San Bernardino County, California.
My son Ryan showing the proper technique for climbing the rings, on the Ring Trail, Mojave National Preserve.

The Hole in the Wall Ring Trail

The Hole in the Wall Ring Trail is a short is a 1.5 miles loop trail around a hill top and through a slot canyon…
Wyatt and Josephine Earp in the Lucky Day Mine mining camp near Vidal, California: This is the only confirmed picture of the two of them together.

The Lucky Day Mine

The Lucky Day Mine is a gold and copper mine located in San Bernardino, California and once owned by Wyatt Earp. Wyatt Earp is probably…
Ryan climbed to the top of Travelers Monument

Travelers Monument

When travelling the Old Mojave Road, there is a tradition to pick and carry a rock, and carry the rock to the Travelers Monument.  The…
Ubehebe Crater, Death Valley National Park, California - Photo by James L Rathbun

Ubehebe Crater

Ubehebe Crater is a volcanic crater located near Grapevine Canyon in Death Valley National Park in California. The crater is approximately 600 deep and one…
A metal headframe marks a vertical shaft in the mining district outside of Vanderbilt California.

Vanderbilt California – San Bernardino County Ghost Town

A metal headframe marks a vertical shaft in the mining district outside of Vanderbilt California. Located in the New York Mountains, Vanderbilt California was an…
ake Tuendae, an Oasis in the Mojave Desert is found at the end of Zzyzx Road off the I-15. Photograph by James L Rathbun

Zzyzx Road – Soda springs

Located south of Baker, CA on the edge of a large soda dry lake bed in the Mojave, Zzyzx Road is a short road which…

San Bernardino Ghost Towns

Atolia and mine in the Mojave Desert, circa 1908 postcard.

Atolia California – San Bernardino County Ghost Town

Atolia is a ghost town and tungsten mine located in the Mojave Desert in northwestern San Bernardino County, California. The town is located just off…
Calico California

Calico California – San Bernardino Count Ghost Town

Calico California is a ghost town located just outside of Barstow in Mojave desert of San Bernardino, California. The town began its like in 1881…

Doble California – San Bernardino Ghost Town

Doble California is a gold mining town and ghost town which is located off the western shore of Lake Baldwin in San Bernardino, California. The…
Goffs, CA

Goffs California – San Bernardino County Ghost Town

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…
Ivanpah - Bidwell Mill

Ivanpah California – San Bernardino County Ghost Town

Not of be confused with two others sites of the same name, Ivanpah is a ghost town and mine site located along the Eastern edge…
A metal headframe marks a vertical shaft in the mining district outside of Vanderbilt California.

Vanderbilt California – San Bernardino County Ghost Town

A metal headframe marks a vertical shaft in the mining district outside of Vanderbilt California. Located in the New York Mountains, Vanderbilt California was an…

San Bernardino 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…

Belle Campground

Belle Campground in Joshua Tree National Park Belle Campground is a small campground with 18 campsites located in Joshua Tree National Park in California. Joshua…

Black Rock Canyon Campground

Black Rock Canyon Campground Black Rock Canyon Campground is a large campground with 99 campsites located in the northwest corner of the Joshua Tree National…
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…

Cottonwood Campground

The Cottonwood Campground is campground located in Joshua Tree National Park in San Bernardino, California. Reservations are required only during the busy season from September…

Hanna Flats Campground

Hanna Flats Campground is an established campground located on Coxey Truck Trail - 3N14 in Big Bear, San Bernardino California. The campground features eighty five…

Hidden Valley Campground

Hidden Valley Campground is location on Joshua Tree National Park The Hidden Valley Campground is an established year round campground location in Joshua Tree National…

Holcomb Valley Campground

Holcomb Valley Campground features 19 single-family campsites and is located along 3N16 in Holcomb Valley, just outside 0f Big Bear, in San Bernardino County, California.…
A slot canyon begins to form towards the end of the Ring Trail, Mojave National Preserve.

Hole in the Wall Campground

Hole in the Wall campground is found deep in the Mojave National Preserve in San Bernardino County, California. The Campground is a popular location for…

Indian Cove Campground

Indian Cove Campground in Joshua Tree National Park Indian Cove Campground is a campground located in Joshua Tree National Park in San Bernardino county, California.…

Jumbo Rocks Campground

Jumbo Rocks Campground in Joshua Tree National Park Perhaps one of the more popular campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks Campgronds is located…
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…

Ryan Campground

Ryan Campground in Joshua Tree National Park Ryan Campground is a campground located in Joshua Tree National Park in San Bernardino, California and hosts 31…
Big Bear Lake covered in snow. Photo by James L Rathbun

Serrano Campground

Serrano Campground is a campground with 108 campsites located near Big Bear Lake in San Bernardino, California. the campground is located just across the highway…

Sheep Pass Campground

Sheep Pass Group Campground is a group campground located in towards the center Joshua Tree National Park in California. The campground features six group campsites…

White Tank Campground

White Tank Campground is a campground in Joshua Tree National Park and located off Pinto Basin Road in the northern section of the park. White…

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