State of California
Location: the area lies about 25 miles north of Mojave, at the southeast basin of the Sierra Nevadas, in the Mojave Desert. CA 14 runs through the center of the park.
Highlights: Amazing red rock monoliths and other monoliths accessible by foot and motorized travel, access to nearby Jawbone-Butterbredt ACEC via OHV trails.
Type/Size of Area: limited use/3 mi x 3 mi
Vehicles Permitted: all OHVs are allowed on dirt roads within the park, but riders must be licensed. Riders riding in Cantil Wash and the frontage road south of the wash do not have to be licensed. FWD and other appropriate offroading street legal vehicles are also allowed on the dirt roads. Maximum camper length is 30 feet and maximum trailer length is 30 feet. More information on camping is in the camping section below.
When Open/Fees: most of the park is open year-round, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. Nightmare Gulch is closed to all visitors February-June. During July-January, pedestrians and equestrians only are allowed during the first halves of those months. During the second halves of those months, motorized travel is allowed in the area. The park is open sunrise to sunset for day-use, with a $6 day-use parking fee. Campgrounds for overnight use are available for $25/night. More information on camping is in the camping section below.
Best Months: October-May (very hot in summer)
Elevation: roughly 2600 feet
Map: general map of the area available at CA's Red Rock page.
Facilities: pit toilets are scattered throughout the campground, as well as potable water. No pit toilets or potable water outside of the campground.
Camping: day-use parking available in the day-use lot with a $6 fee. Overnight use is not allowed in this lot, but is allowed within Ricardo Campground. 50 campsites are available within Ricardo Campground for $25/night. Seniors can stay for $23/night, and additional vehicles are $6 each. Each site has a picnic table and a fire ring. Pit toilets and potable water are available throughout the campground. Bring your own wood- do not burn local vegetation or wood with nails. Both campers and trailers have a maximum allowed length of 30 feet. No RV hookups. Vehicles, including OHVs, must lie within the rock-lined boundaries of each site. Maximum of 8 people allowed per site. No group sites available. Camping is first-come, first-served, and no reservations are accepted. Self-pay is required before setting up camp. Quiet hours are 10pm-6am. Horses or other livestock are not allowed within the campground. Day-use parking with horses is available at the Red Cliff parking lot at the park’s entrance. From here, trails can be accessed.
Riding: I have not personally ridden in this riding area; I have only explored the riding area on foot. OHV riding is allowed within the park on dirt roads. Do not ride on roads closed to OHV use. Many amazing red cliffs and other geological formations make this park unique, and are accessible by OHV. Access to the nearby Jawbone-Butterbredt ACEC is also available, as well as another limited use area northeast of the park surrounding the El Paso Mountains.
For SUV excursions in the park and surrounding area, see Roger Mitchell’s book, Southern California SUV Trails Volume I: The Western Mojave Desert.
Cycling available on paved roads throughout the park, but not on dirt roads. Collecting of any material, organic or inorganic, is prohibited without a permit. Hiking and equestrian use is available throughout the park. Hiking brings visitors up close and personal with many of the vivid monoliths of the park.
The Visitor’s Center is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 8:30am-3:30pm, Saturdays from 12:30pm-7:30pm, and Sundays from 8:30am-4:00pm. During spring and fall, guided nature hikes start at 9am on Sunday. Campfire programs start at 7pm on Saturdays.
Directions: From the town of Mojave, travel north on CA Highway 14 for 25 miles. Turn left onto Abbott Drive to enter the park. Continue for a short distance to the Visitors Center and campground.
Weather: Red Rock Canyon State Park
Nearest Amenities: Jawbone Store, near Jawbone Station, has gas and basic groceries, but is only open seasonally. Nearest full amenities are in the town of Mojave, 20 miles to the south via CA 14.
Nearest Hospital: Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, 46 miles south via CA 14. Also, Ridgecrest Regional Hospital in Ridgecrest, about 38 miles northeast via CA 14 and CA 178.
The park itself does not have a direct phone number.
Red Rock Canyon State Park
P.O. Box 502
Ridgecrest, CA 93556
Mojave Desert Information Center
Also: CA's Red Rock Canyon page
BLM: Ridgecrest Field Office
Location: about 25 miles northeast of Mojave in the Mojave Desert, on the northeast border of Red Rock Canyon State Park.
Highlights: lots of great four-wheel drive trails, lots of OHV trails, Burro-Schmidt Tunnel, access to Red Rock Canyon State Park, old mining camps, beautiful canyons.
Type/Size of Area: Limited Use, travel permitted on existing trails only. Trails marked closed are considered closed to any use. Exact acreage unknown, but the area offers several miles of trails in the mountain range.
Vehicles Permitted: All OHVs and any size rig, including 2WD passenger vehicles.
When Open/Fees: year-round, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week/No fees
Best Months: October-May (hot in summer)
Elevation: 3000-5244 Feet
Map: Friends of Jawbone OHV Riding Areas & Trails Map. Visit BLM’s Jawbone Station or Ridgecrest Field Office, or Friends of Jawbone online. Also available is a pdf map on BLM’s Dove Springs page, including surrounding Jawbone-Butterbredt ACEC and Jawbone Canyon to the south.
Facilities: unknown/no potable water
Camping: there are no established campsites, but primitive camping is permitted virtually anywhere in the open area. Day use and overnight use permitted. Please use previously used sites and do not disturb vegetation. Many sites are accessible by any size rig, whether two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Camping limited to 14 days. Campfires permitted. Do not burn local vegetation or wood with nails. There are no trash receptacles in the area, so please pack out all trash.
Riding: there are many riding opportunities for both OHV and FWD explorers. The area is popular with all OHVs, including motorcycles, ATVs, and dune buggies. There are also some challenging FWD trails, such as Last Chance Canyon. This trail starts in Red Rock Canyon State Park and finishes in the El Paso Mountains. Other popular attractions include the Burro-Schmidt Tunnel. It is 9 miles from Red Rock-Inyokern Rd via EP 15. In the center of the riding area is the El Paso Wilderness, which is only open to pedestrians and equestrians. For a wide range of SUV excursions in the area, see Roger Mitchell’s book, Southern California SUV Trails Volume I: The Western Mojave Desert.
Directions: from the town of Mojave, drive 20 miles north on CA 14 to Red Rock-Garlock Rd and turn right. Travel east for about 11 miles and turn left onto EP 100/Mesquite Canyon Rd to enter the riding area. Mesquite Canyon connects to other trails in the riding area.
Or, continue past Red Rock-Garlock Rd for about 9 miles to Red Rock-Inyokern Rd, a graded dirt road (street legal only) that runs north/northeast. You will have passed the entrance for the Dove Springs OHV area. Take Red Rock-Inyokern Rd north for 3 miles, then turn right onto EP 15 and head southeast into the area.
Weather: nearby Red Rock Canyon State Park
Nearest Amenities: Jawbone Store, near Jawbone Station, has gas and basic groceries, but is only open seasonally. Nearest full amenities are in the town of Mojave, about 25 miles to the south via CA 14.
Nearest Hospital: Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, 50 miles south via CA 14. Also, Ridgecrest Regional Hospital in Ridgecrest, about 40 miles northeast via CA 14 and CA 178.
28111 Jawbone Canyon Rd.
P.O. Box 1902
Cantil, CA 93519
Ridgecrest Field Office
300 S. Richmond Rd.
Ridgecrest, CA 93555
Main Contact Number: 760-384-5400
Fax Number: 760-384-5499