4WD Road Trips by DesertUSA

DesertUSA took some fun road trips in 2009. In case you missed any of our trips, we are listing our favorite 4WD routes in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Joshua Tree National Park.

Anza-Borrego Trips

Videographer, Jim Bremner, as he follows author into one of the mud caves.
Videographer, Jim Bremner, as he follows author into one of the mud caves.

Arroyo Tapiado Mud Caves 


The mud caves are located in the southwestern portion of the park off of the S-2.  There are more than 22 caves and 9 slot canyons that have been created by water erosion.  Take a headlamp, flash lights, water and food.  You will want to spend some time at the mud caves. Click here to read more.

Coyote Canyon 4WD Trail

Coyote Canyon, located in the northwest area of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, is one of those places where you can see water in the desert. There is a year-round stream that runs through the canyon and serves as a water source for the bighorn sheep and other wildlife. Diverse riparian flora and fauna flourish along its banks.

There are many beautiful views like this one along the road in Coyote Canyon.
There are many beautiful views like this one along the road in Coyote Canyon.

Road Trip To The Palm Oases

Summary: From Hwy S22 at Arroyo Salado Primitive Campground you can 4WD or hike to the 17 Palms Oasis, 5 Palms Oasis, Una Palma and the Pumpkin Patch in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Fossil Hunting In The Yuha Basin

Summary: Near Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, but not inside the boundaries. Hunt for fossils in the Oyster Shell beds. OHV is allowed in this area. The Yuha Basin lies in Imperial County on both sides of Interstate 8, approximately 100 miles east of San Diego, California. It can be accessed at the Dunaway Road Exit, which is also called the Dunaway Staging Area for Limited Use Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation, about 10 miles west of El Centro, California.

Joshua Tree Trips


Barry Storm Jade Mine

Summary: Explore the old Jade Mine site and wander through the remains of Barry Storm’s old house, a mine tunnel and other remnants from the past. The Barry Storm Jade Mine is located off of the Black Eagle Mine Rd.  The Black Eagle Mine Road is approximately 6.5 miles north of the Cottonwood Visitor’s Center in the south portion of the Joshua Tree National Park.  Take the Black Eagle Mine Rd. for about 8 or 9 miles. Click here to read more.

Geology Tour Rd.

Summary: If you are looking for an easy 4WD adventure check out the Geology Tour Road at Joshua Tree National Park. The Geology Tour will take you through a portion of the Queen Valley in route to Pleasant Valley where the road loops through the valley revealing scenic views and numerous points of interest around the loop. As you travel into Pleasant Valley you will see interesting rock formations and sculptures. Along the route you can stop at markers that correspond with an informational brochure available at the entrance to Geology Tour Rd.

Old Dale Road

Summary: 4WD expedition into the Pinto Basin byway of Old Dale Road/Gold Crown Road. Old Dale Road starts in Joshua Tree National Park, passes through the Pinto Basin and out of the park into the Pinto Mountains, where it becomes Gold Crown Road. The route ends at California Route 62, 15 miles east of the small desert town of Twentynine Palms.  This is a road for experienced 4WD drivers.  It is a very rough and up hill  for the first part of the journey.

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Lynn Bremner is the author of DesertRoadTrippin.com, a blog about desert road trips and tips. She started the blog after moving to Indio, CA where she now resides. Now a true desert dweller, Lynn has added in some of her own views on desert living. The heat does not keep her indoors in the summertime. She is out running, golfing or taking short day trips to some of the local points of interest. After years of traveling along the dusty, desert trails with her father, she has come to appreciate the beauty and solitude of the desert landscape. Her father’s passion for prospecting, desert lore and exploring the desert parks took their family to many interesting places, mostly in California, Nevada and Arizona. Lynn now writes about her desert road trips and intertwines a little bit of desert living into the mix.


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