Johnson Valley OHV Area

Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area is a varied landscape for the off-highway vehicle driver. The area is punctuated by steep red rocky mountains, rolling hills, open valleys, dry lake beds and sandy washes. Elevations range from the Hartwell Hills at about 4,600 feet to Melville Dry Lake, with an elevation of about 2,300 feet. Vegetation consists of creosote scrub, some annual grasses and wild flowers and, the symbol of the Mojave Desert, the Joshua tree.

Location & Directions

The riding area is off Highway 247 (Old Woman Springs Road) and Camp Rock Road, about 55 miles southeast of Barstow (CA) or about 25 miles east of Victorville (CA). Most visitors access the area off Camp Rock Road driving north off of Highway 247. Staging for many competitive events is at Anderson Dry Lake, about 10 miles north of Highway 247 just east of Camp Rock Road. There is also access north of Highway 247, driving east toward Yucca Valley, at Bessemer Mine Road (to get to Soggy Dry Lake) and Boone Road. All of these roads are graded dirt roads.


Most of the area visitors ride motorcycles or ATVs, or tour the area in four-wheel drive vehicles. The areas around Anderson and Soggy Dry Lake are used extensively for OHV free play. The area is also used extensively for competitive racing events by permit. There are many opportunities for hiking, rock scrambling, rock hounding, and plant, bird and wildlife watching.

There are Desert Tortoise, a state and federally listed threatened species, in the riding area. NOTE: The area has many deep mine shafts! Be careful in these areas and do not camp near these areas. The eastern boundary is shared with the Twenty-nine Palms Marine Air-Ground Combat Center. DO NOT trespass onto Marine-held lands and be careful traveling this area due to unexploded ordinance in the area.



Rules & Regulations

  • Camping is allowed anywhere within the riding area that does not block travel on a road; limited to a 14 day stay.
  • Draining of holding tanks, littering and trash dumping is prohibited. Pack It In, Pack It Out!
  • All vehicles must have a muffler or spark arrester and must be registered, either with a license tag or a California "green sticker" OHV registration (CA. Residents only),
  • Vehicles being operated at night must have head and tail lights.
  • Helmets are required on all ATVs! Also, there are no passengers allowed on ATVs.
  • SHOTGUN SHOOTING ONLY IN THE JOHNSON VALLEY OHV AREA! No pistol or rifle shooting allowed!
  • Digging up or destroying trees and shrubs or harassing wildlife or livestock is prohibited.
  • The desert tortoise is a federally protected species. Please do not handle or disturb these animals; Look but don't Touch!
  • It is illegal to damage or destroy archeological sites or remove artifacts.

-- Source: BLM

Related Books & Gifts - Trading Post
Yucca Valley, California

Desert Safety Tips
Desert Survival Primer
Desert Survival: The Solar Still
Outdoor Recreation: Auto Touring & Off-Roading


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