My Solo Wanderings of the West


New member
Thanks for getting us caught up. Hopefully you're still around Barstow and these suggestions help. Sawtooth Canyon is not to be missed. You head South from Barstow on Barstow road ( State Highway 247 ) roughly 15 miles from Barstow and 4 ? miles passed the extreme cafe/ Stoddard Wells road, you will come to an intersection. On the West side you will see some pipes and valves . That is the road into Sawtooth. Strangely no sign whatsoever marking the campground. On the other side of the highway is a lonely BLM sign. If there are no campsites in Sawtooth, you can camp there. If you reach the 4000 foot pass, you've gone too far. Rainbow Valley Northwest of Barstow is nice also. It's off Fort Irwin Rd. taken from the very center of old town Barstow. You go past the Harvey House museum at the old railroad station and head North toward Fort Irwin. After approximately 4 miles you turn left onto Fossil beds road. Go several miles to Rainbow Valley Rd.turn right and your there. You may already know all this but your readers may not. Hope it helps someone.


New member
The campground host at Sawtooth suggested last time I stayed in my van overnight in the big parking area ( because there were no sites available ) that I ask the campers in the group sites if I could park by them. He told me the rangers could ticket me if caught. There is no longer a host there. We stayed there last week and was surprised to find that out. Guy was very cool. The BLM area across the highway is not near as nice but would be great for riding. Cell coverage is OK but a booster would make it much better. BTW. Cell coverage at Owl Canyon campground is spotty but better at campground entrance. Sawtooth is free camping. I think Owl Canyon is $6. Going in before Friday will guarantee a spot at either campground. I know you don't mind camping outside campgrounds but they are nice and once again this could help your fans of which I am one.

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The pictures of the wildflowers and the sunset were beautiful...that Hole In The Wall formation is very interesting,never seen anything like it.
Waiting to find out there is something beautiful in or near Barstow...who knew?:)
Me too! I always thought the best part of Barstow was seeing it in your rear view mirror :Wow1:
Stay tuned! Coming up shortly! :coffee:

HI Kenny,
I check in periodically and catch up with your blog. Great stuff! Good pics and lots of interesting info. I would like to make one correction though. The museum at Chiriaco Summit is the Gen. George S. Patton museum not the Gen. Pershing museum. Gen. John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing was the Commander of all U.S. Forces in France during WW I. Earlier in his career he served as an officer in the 10th US Cavalry and went up Kettle Hill with Teddy Roosevelt. His nick name "Black Jack" came from his service with the 10th, which, was a black (white officers) unit. Gen. George Smith " Blood & Guts" Patton rose to fame in WW II.SGLTRK
Hi Sgltrk! Thanks... we already caught this a few posts back but I neglected to correct the original post. Sorry! I still blame it on a senior moment. So much history all over that part of the Mojave of the desert training, fascinating stuff!

Thanks for getting us caught up. Hopefully you're still around Barstow and these suggestions help. Sawtooth Canyon is not to be missed.
Rainbow Valley Northwest of Barstow is nice also.
Thanks Stan, all great info. Read on and you'll see I found Owl Canyon and really liked it. I only learned of Sawtooth in my last few days at Owl Canyon but a fellow camper went down there only to return because it was packed with spring-breakers and all!

It looks like there is some rain in the area...that could be nice.
It's been raining on and off all day. This is the first rain I've had since January 7, three whole dry months! Today I'm sitting in the foothllls of the south Sierras, the clouds around the mountaintops make quite a different view compared to the last few months.


On the way out of Mojave I turned onto Cedar Canyon Road; it is also the Mojave Road for that 6 mile stretch. I was following this vehicle bouncing along the washboard. So, I actually saw someone driving a Prius on the Mojave Road. :D I imagine it was coming from Hole-in-the-Wall, the poor car was so loaded down that the rear was bottomed out and all the stuff on the roof was loosely tied on with a few load straps.

I went north through Cima to I-15 then headed west to Barstow. I did all my shopping then drove north out of town to the Rainbow Basin area and Owl Canyon Campground. This is a BLM camp which was refurbished just in the last few years; the campground was very nice and was clean and stocked and ready for the Easter weekend. With my geezer discount the camping fee was only $3 night. It also was very quiet there; with spring break happening all over I knew many places were crazy and this seemed a nice spot to sit out the spring break season.

The view to the south was incredible. Barstow was in the valley beyond the first ridge, beyond that a few more low mountain ranges then about 60 miles distant, the snow-covered San Bernardino range down by Big Bear, somewhat hidden here in the clouds.

This was the view of the hills across the road from my site. The area is an amazing variety of mudhills and washes and canyons with multi-colored rock walls. During the time I was there three separate university classes of geology students had camps and were taking daily field trips all around the area.



At the north end of the campground is the trailhead for Owl Canyon trail. The hike starts out across an open wash then continues to follow the natural wash into the narrowing canyon.

The trail closes up into a narrow slot canyon and in places requires climbing up dry falls and scrambling over good sized rock slides.

The color of the rock changes as the trail continues, here passing red rock with gray mudhills beyond.

Then the landscape turned to pink and green.

Toward the top of the trail I came upon this open field of bright purple flowers.

After climbing the last falls I came on some tire tracks; in the area beyond that last fall I saw even more single track. In a bit I met two riders on KTMs that had ridden in from the north. We had a long chat then I turned and headed back down the canyon. In one of the narrows I came face to face with a desert fox, sadly he was gone before I could grab the camera.



Within my first few days at Owl Canyon I had installed the new stator on the bike and was test-driving it on some short rides in the area. This is the road into the Rainbow Basin, a one-way loop road.

This time it had only taken a few days to get running again but it still felt good to be able to get out again on two wheels!

The colors and formations reminded me of the Artist Drive and Artist Palette at Death Valley.

The road winds around a variety of formations.

And gets narrow in places.

West of Rainbow Basin the roads turn to sandy tracks, here looking west across the dry lakes. The solar fields seen are 25 or 30 miles away.

There were a lot of really windy days up there above Barstow, it never did rain but the same weather system was dropping rain out by the coast, and to the south the mountains were frequently covered in snow clouds. I finally got a clear view of the snowy mountains to the south; I believe the high one is Mount San Gorgonio, the highest peak in the southern ranges at about 12,000 feet.

I enjoyed Owl Canyon so much I ended up staying much longer than planned. It was a nice campground in a beautiful area and I enjoyed meeting and talking to some fellow travelers.
I finally left, heading west from Barstow then north, toward my next destination at the Trona Pinnacles.


New member
I guess that's the problem with blogs. Most bloggers have moved on before any suggestions can be posted but on the bright side, there's always next time. As a hopefully pre-emptive suggestion. Devils Postpile west of Mammoth. The gondola to the top of Mammoth mountain, June Lake loop, Mono Lake, Virginia City Nevada. But it may be too early in the season for most of these places. I almost forgot the Ancient Bristle Cone pine Forests east of Big Pine. You could spend a month exploring the Eastern Sierra and not see it all. Also Alabama Hills at Lone Pine.


Very cool. Son-in-law is running around the U.S. Army National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin getting ready for an upcoming deployment.


KennyJ, last we heard from you you were headed to Mx. Haven't heard from you for a while and hope all is well. Watch out for the banditos.

By the way, just noticed that your adventure is 5 star rated. Good work and thanks for sharing. Let us know how you're doing.
KennyJ, last we heard from you you were headed to Mx. Haven't heard from you for a while and hope all is well. Watch out for the banditos.

By the way, just noticed that your adventure is 5 star rated. Good work and thanks for sharing. Let us know how you're doing.
Saw him post in a thread yesterday so seems he is good. Look forward to seeing an update from down south!

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