This was my first time camping at Afton Canyon, a BLM run campground about an hour east of Barstow. It’s only about 10 minutes off the I-15 freeway but you would never know it! This small but well-kept campground offers access to amazing outdoor opportunities and sits by a true desert oasis. Despite being in the middle of the Mojave Desert, Afton Canyon is the only place where the Mojave River flows aboveground year-round! With ample riparian habitat you get many different ecological experiences at this one of a kind site. The canyon itself is called “the Grand Canyon of the Mojave” and is an awesome geologic feature. The riparian habitat makes wildlife in the area abundant. Plus, the famed Old Mojave Road 4x4 trail runs right through the area.
The campground itself is nice and secluded. Each site has a well-constructed fire-pit/grill and a shade structure over the picnic table. The campground has potable water and pit toilets too. I stayed at a site near the back so we could explore the surrounding area for critters. There are a lot of cool things to see from lizards, kangaroo rats, snakes and more often than not big horn sheep!
A few downsides: There are active train tracks that run by the campground though they did not run all night, which was nice. I had no problem with noise from the trains late at night or early in the morning. The one issue I had was the mosquitoes! Because of the water from the Mojave River the mosquitoes when I was there (April 18) were REALLY bad. I’m a mosquito-attractor and easily got 40+ bites without even realizing they were out. Not too pleasant the next day! So even though you're headed for the desert pack your bug repellant and use it.
As a Dyrt Ranger, I also get products to test and review in the field. At this campground I tested the Aftershokz Trek Air Headphones.
These headphones are wireless with bone conduction technology, which means they don’t actually go in your ears. Wrapping around the ears, they sit on your temples and just behind you ear - very futuristic! My favorite qualities are:
- The sound quality is great though it’s even better when you wear the provided ear plugs! I would say it’s comparable to other wireless ear buds currently on the market.
- They sit very comfortably on my head and don’t move around when active and they don’t get sweaty.
- As someone with smaller ear holes (is that the right term?) they don’t hurt my ears which is great!
- The buttons are easy to use and straightforward. They also have a built-in mic so it can be used to talk on the phone, say when you’re in the car!
- The charge lasts quite a while on these headphones, and it charges rather quickly. The cord is also pretty universal which makes charging a breeze!
- Finally, they come in a convenient smooth matte bag so everything (including the cord and ear plugs) can stay together. And I LOVE the forest green color I picked.
They are truly great active headphones and are perfect for outdoor activities when you want to enjoy the world around you or hear you friends while hiking but still want to listen to your tunes! Plus, the bone conduction means that everyone around you isn’t forced to enjoy your music – please say no to hiking with Bluetooth speakers and get some of these!!!
Free admission to Ghost Town with camping reservation. Good fall to spring. Way to hot in summer. No shade. Dusty but that’s expected in an OHV Campground. We just held an outing there with 24 people. Great time!! https://hitched4fun.com/2018/09/15/2018-calico-ghost-town-ca-outing/
We arrived on a Friday night, without reservations. Our first night of van living. Found the security guard who connected us with the ranger. There were plenty of sites to chose from. The ranger then found us a better site for $5 less, The place was quiet, Beautiful sunset. We aren't off-roaders but noticed a lot of ATVs around. Seems like the place to be. There are also mountain bike trails around. In the morning we discovered the Calico Ghost Town attraction right next to the park. In fact entrance to the ghost town is included in the camping fees. The town is an abandoned silver mining town. There's a few historical buildings and mines you can hike around. You can pay for a tour of the mine. Lots of old west quaint shops, and restaurants. We watched a skit of a shoot out preformed in the main square. Spent more time there than planned, it was that fun.
Very flat and open, if you like desert camping this might be the place for you. If you're into dirt bike riding there is a wide field of view. If you are into Rockets this is a great place because in some areas there's no vegetation whatsoever.
Note that it does get windy at night so if you camp outside be prepared to be pelted by small rocks and sand all night.
Reservations available at recreation.gov
my wife and I came here to camp and hike for the weekend. This is a nice campground with picnic tables, shade covers and fire rings. We camped here in April and it was already getting warm during the day. This campground is very popular with rock climbers', with several places to climb and several hiking trail.
This is a nice campground, it has limited water that has to be trucked in to fill the holding tanks. Pit toilets, and playground equipment for those camping with younger kids. There are several nice hikes from the campground. Have seen collage classes and Boy scouts troops using this campground. You can't camp with horses in this campground, but there is horse camping near by.
I was here one October where the weather was above 100F during the day. The sites have absolutely no shade or cover, and are just lined up in a row next to each other with no privacy. We ended up choosing to spend more of our time at Owl Canyon (BLM campground nearby) because it was much more secluded, had better views, and offered shade. The advantages to Calico are: bathrooms with showers, water, and dump stations. However we were ok with a primitive site and did not want to feel crowded in.
I stayed with a group here for 3 nights a few years ago in October. This is a beautiful campground. Very primitive, with pit toilets and one water faucet. Trash is carry in carry out. It is a small campground (Less than 25 sites). It was also extremely hot (I think above 110F during the day), but at night it was beautiful. We didn't even need a tent because of the mild temperatures and calm breeze. Our group site had plenty of room for everyone, and picnic tables that had a covering to provide some shade during the day. The area felt very remote and quiet, and we were able to hike right from our site each day.
First come first served, so weekdays are the best time to get a spot here.Only about 20 sites so not too crowded and noisy with hordes of people. The cost is a little steep but everything is clean and functional. There is a camp host so things are pretty well monitored and ushered to keep the noise down. Lots of great trails and off trail hiking for all levels of experience plus climbing locations for the rockers out there. Pretty good all around camping with enough distance from the main road for quietude and no light pollution so you get a good sense of solitude along with sleep. In other words, good family campground and bring a hammock.
Nice little place tucked away in the Mojave. Not sure exactly how many campsites as we stayed towards the front , there are vault toilets available. The train tracks are directly across from the camp, I liked it:) There are several old mines nearby and a cave you can climb to the top of the mountain through. There’s just plenty to do near this campsite so it’s 5 star all the way;):)
There were no trees at all. We were told to wait for a white truck when we got there. No one came. We called the security number and they told us they would be by. We waited about 20 minutes and ended up leaving. The tent sites were gravel. Overall not impressed.
Camped there in summer of 2016. Campground is nestled in pine woods where you have to drive quite far in through dirt road to get there. Pretty secluded, but accommodate our large group. Spacious for several cars. Its location is in high elevation over seven thousand feet and pine woods were dense. It was actually quite breezy at the time of our visit and could hear the pine trees in the breeze. It was interesting to learn that Pacific Crest Trail passed through this campground. There is no water available so bring your own. Site has pit toilets and picnic tables. There is a fire ring but fire restrictions were in place during our visit. There are not many amenities, but it is a good site for private gatherings or large family camping.
Because the National forest allows dispersed camping, as long as your off the roads and trails, the camping spots are unlimited. We like coming here if we want to be guaranteed a spot, no early arrivals or reservations needed. Dogs are allowed, and the trails in the area are dog-friendly.
The campground is a ways into the forest. I'm sure smaller cars could make it but it's not going to be a very comfortable ride.
There are a lot of sites and most were packed the weekend we were there. Lots of families and it wasn't quiet. Lots of pets and it wasn't quiet.
Picnic tables, firepits, the campground manager was on top of people who let their fires get too big.
It's truly a beautiful site though, lots of trails around and some rock climbing as well.
This little RV park was opened in 1977. It is nothing fancy but perfectly inperfect. You are greeted by staff and escorted to your space. Staff will assist you in plugging in if needed. They ask that you check-in after you are settled. Full hook-ups and wifi strong. They accept Good Sam. A real drive-in movie theater is across the street.
It is a BLM campground in the Rainbow Basin right above Barstow, CA. Have to drive through washboard road for about five miles to get to the campground. Nice site with a trail head to Owl Canyon right by the campground. First come first serve site, but $6 per night. Each site has a picnic table with a shelter and a fire ring. Was very windy when we were there and had to put up tarp as wind shelter. Most pit toilets were clean, but it was an Easter weekend so very crowded with college field trips. No water (taps were not working) so bring your own water. There are some interesting playground structures at the campground towards the trail head. It was a full moon day so it was pretty bright that night and could not do stargazing. The view from our sites (first night #??, second night #22) were great. You can even see San Bernardino Mountains. A great place to camp if you are into geology. You can hike into Owl Canyon or drive a short distance to see colorful geological formations at Rainbow Basin. It was hot even in April so be prepared for the heat if you are not used to it.
It is a free campground, first come first serve. There are no developed facilities (i.e., no firepits, outhouses, etc.) but it is beautiful and there are plenty of flat places to set up a tent. This area is used almost exclusively by rock climbers, but anyone is welcomed. As long as you follow the guidelines for the area, you can set up your tent anywhere you see a spot.
It‘s always nice that this camp ground is free and that you are pretty much guaranteed a “spot” even if all the official sites are taken. Primitive camping can be set up pretty much anywhere. If you can claim one of the actual sites they have a sweet set up with picnic table, grill, and roofed area. They almost always are claimes by RVs when we arrive on the weekend. biggest complaint: so much broken glass around the campground. Dogs are allowed here, but the whole time we were worried about our dog cutting his feet. If you bring a dog, booties are highly recommended!
This is a nice little retreat from the desert. The only real complaint I have is the train. It takes a little while to get used to it going by. Wish they still had the paddle boats and horse back riding. The little zero gravity water park is nice if you have children.
Been here many times since it is local to me.
This place has changed a lot over the years, and not necessarily for the good, in my opinion.
What there is:
- Trailer camping
- Tent camping
- A playground
- Small water park
- Two lakes to fish at
- Trains, lots of them
- Bathrooms with showers
- Frisbee golf
- Picnic tables and shelters
What there is no longer:
- Paddle boats
- Horse riding stables
- Horses and cows
- Other interesting animals
- Water in the grass fields where the animals roamed
Beware of skunks and loud trains!
It is still a somewhat nice place to visit for a couple hours with the kids.
We have camped in a tent. The tents sites are adjacent to the lake.
Trailer camping isn't too bad, other than being adjacent to the busy railroad. Most sites have grass.
I needed to get some work done in Barstow while I was on the road and this was the closest decent looking campground I could find. Sights are big some could handle a RV but I can confirm no hook ups. There are 2 water faucets I found in camp but neither are working. Bonus the picnic tables have there own little gazebos so in summer you would get some shade, and each sight has a fire pit with grill and a separate grill pit that would be great for charcoal. I stayed for 4 nights and had some epic sunrises, sunset is nice and one day of significant wind gusts, like kick you to the side and throw you off stride wind gusts so I suspect it can get pretty windy. But over all great campground pretty secluded for how close it is for Barstow and there is no reason I would not recemoned it, espaiclly to tenters. Be warned there is a super tame fox that got brave and tried to steal food scraps a few times.