Afton Canyon Preserve
California BLM Region
The Grand Canyon of the Mojave
35 miles east of Barstow, CA in San Bernardino County
Barstow Resource Area
Water still flows most of the year through this mini Grand Canyon. Here sheer walls in every imaginable shade of pink tower 300 feet above the Mojave River. Four major trails of varying lengths take you past these varicolored cliffs and through nooks and crannies visited long ago by Native American people, Spanish missionaries and explorers, and mountain men. This rare ribbon of greenery in a unique geological setting also harbors an abundance of wildlife and birds.
Known as the "Grand Canyon of the Mojave," Afton Canyon contains spectacular scenery. Not only does the canyon exhibit beautiful examples of wind and water erosion, but the colors in the side walls look as if someone poured various shades of red and green paint over them.
The canyon was formed 12,000 to 19,000 years ago when Lake Mannix drained. As this huge lake drained, it cut the canyon nearly to its present depth. Periodic floods continue this work.
There is always water in Afton Canyon, and it is one of three places along the Mojave River where there is year-round surface flow. The presence of this water in Afton Canyon is extremely important for wildlife.
Afton Canyon is designated as a watchable wildlife area and a visit can be inspiring for avid wildlife enthusiasts. Bighorn sheep live in the area and may be seen coming to the river to drink. Various kinds of raptors nest on the canyon walls. If you camp at the campground, be prepared to share your campsite with kangaroo rats and roadrunners.
Other popular activities are rockhounding, hiking, photography, horseback riding, and touring along the historic Mojave Road which runs through the canyon.
Video on Afton Canyon:
Afton Canyon can be reached by taking the Afton Road exit off Interstate 15 located 36 miles northeast of Barstow. Follow the graded gravel road for three miles to the canyon.
More Articles on:
Source: BLM and DesertUSA staff
Related DesertUSA Pages
- How to Turn Your Smartphone into a Survival Tool
- 26 Tips for Surviving in the Desert
- Your GPS Navigation Systems
May Get You Killed
- 7 Smartphone Apps to Improve Your Camping Experience
- Desert Survival Skills
- Successful Search & Rescue Missions with Happy Endings
- How to Keep Ice Cold in the Desert
Survival Tips for Horse and Rider
an Emergency Survival Kit
Share this page on Facebook:
DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)