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Author Topic: DV, JTree, Anza-Borrego  (Read 4926 times)

AGSchu119

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DV, JTree, Anza-Borrego
« on: March 28, 2017, 09:04:56 AM »
I am planning a week long spring break trip starting tomorrow (sometimes its nice being a teacher). We are going to head from West LA up to Death Valley, down to JTree and wrap up at Anza-Borrego sometime next week. We plan to camp along the way and I have researched as much as possible the most important spots to hit from books, websites and this forum. This is our first time out to any of these places but we are well prepared with a plan and plenty of water. My X is mostly stock (no mudguards, steprails or sway bar, new rear shocks) so we are not going to attempt anything too crazy but would like to try a couple of scenic type drives in each spot.

Does anyone have any MUST sees along this route that we cannot miss?

I have read a bit about the Old Dale mining district of JTree. Can you enter the park from that area or do you have to explore and then enter through the main, northern entrance?

Thank you so much in advance!

Glen

Ghost65

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Re: DV, JTree, Anza-Borrego
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2017, 09:40:30 AM »
Fonts Point, Anza Borrego just off of S22, west of Truckhaven.




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JeffBett

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Re: DV, JTree, Anza-Borrego
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2017, 10:11:28 AM »
You can go through the Old Dale area from the north and you come out on the pavement in the park closer to the south entrance.  From there you can head back northwest to the main park attractions.  The Titus canyon drive in Death Valley is always a great drive and they just maintained it so it is not very rough now.  Drive up to Rhyolite and see whats left of the ghost town and then back into Death Valley via Titus as it is a one way heading west.  Most of the stuff I do in death valley is more back country and I am not sure you are looking for that or not.  If so a great loop (not very extreme) is to go up Saline/South Pass Road and turn right on Hunter Mountain, you can then come out at Tea Kettle Junction and drop down to the Racetrack.  From there you can go over Lippincott Road and drive up Saline Valley to the Warm Springs. (plenty of camping there)  From there you can choose how to exit.


JFanaselle

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Re: DV, JTree, Anza-Borrego
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2017, 11:04:08 AM »
If your plan is to exit DV park to the southeast (into Baker) and head to JT from there, I'd highly recommend passing through the Mojave Preserve. You can take Kelbaker Road from Baker to Kelso and check out the old train depot that is now the MNP visitor center. On your way into Kelso from Baker, you'll pass by several cinder cones and have a great view of the Cima Dome to your north. The depot is really cool, and if you enjoy the history of the area, you can easily spend two hours there going through all the rooms and checking it all out. There used to be a small restaurant/snack bar inside the building, but it went out of business a few years ago when the operator retired. The tables and chairs are still there, so you can sit and enjoy the AC while you have lunch that you bring yourself.

From Kelso, you can continue south on Kelbaker Road and, if you wish, you can stop by the Kelso Sand Dunes about halfway between Kelso and I-40. The dunes themselves are a wilderness area, so you can't drive right up to them. There's a parking area and trailhead, and it's just a short hike to them if you want to see them up close (a half mile or so each way), but even the view from the parking area is pretty impressive if you just want to make it a quick stop. You can continue south on Kelbaker, past I-40, and turn right (west) on Route 66 and stop off at Roy's in Amboy for a delicious Route 66 "Route Beer." Stopping here for a root beer is one of my favorite things to do in the desert. More than once, I've driven all the way out to Roy's just to sit there, drink a root bear, and watch trains pass by in the distance as I take in the desert scenery. :) Again, if you're looking to get out of the car and stretch your legs, the Amboy Creator (right down the road from Roy's) is a pretty cool little hike. It's about a mile and a half each way and there's only a couple hundred feet of elevation gain, all within the last tenth of a mile as you climb the side of the creator into the volcano. The desert views from the rim of the creator are great, and you can check the "been inside a volcano" box on your bucket list. ;) It'll take about 2 or 3 hours to hike to the rim of the creator and back, so this is another one you may want to skip if you're just passing through.

From Amboy, you'd take Amboy Road south into Wonder Valley. At that point, you're just outside the Old Dale district, but your best bet would be to head west a little further into Twentynine Palms for some gas and other necessities. There are plenty of hotels in Twentynine Palms if you wanted to rest one night in a real bed and have a shower. Plenty of restaurants and fast food here as well. From Twentynine Palms, you'd head southeast into the Old Dale Mining District and into JT from there.

Without the hikes, this would basically be a full day with the stops at Kelso, Roy's and Twentynine Palms, ending the day in the Old Dale Mining District (or ending in Twentynine Palms and starting your next morning in Old Dale, if you choose). Enjoy the trip, sounds like it'll be a blast!

FrankB

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Re: DV, JTree, Anza-Borrego
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2017, 04:08:05 PM »
Great advice above from Joe on the Mojave Preserve and the drive further south into Twentynine Palms.  Also great advice from Jeff and John.

For more in Anza Borrego that you can feel comfortable doing alone in a stock Xterra, I suggest Fish Creek Wash to Sandstone Canyon, and as far up Sandstone as you can get comfortably (which unfortunately is nowhere near as far as it used to be before the various rockfalls).  Still, it's a very scenic drive.  From the end of Split Mountain Road it's 12.5 miles of unpaved Fish Creek Wash to the start of Sandstone Canyon.  The route shows up on all paper maps of the area.  The 2-mile round trip hike up to the Wind Caves, at about 4 miles from the start of Fish Creek Wash, takes you to some interesting geology with great views.

Also in Anza Borrego, the Buttes Pass area is quite nice to wander around.  A nice loop is to head north on Buttes Pass from CA-78, maybe stop to check out Hawk Canyon, and then continue north over the pass to San Felipe Wash.  Turn right (east) and go about a mile to Blow Sand Canyon. Turn right (south) into Blow Sand and head around the bend in to the hills, up a very soft sand hill to the crest, then turn right on the much harder packed Goat Trail.  The last steep bits of the Goat Trail may require 4-Low, and the view from the top are great, you can look out towards the badlands to the north and the rest of AB in all other directions.  Continuing in the same direction you head downhill and end up back at Buttes Pass Road not too far from CA-78.  It's a big circle.  From there, before heading back south to the highway, detour off towards the parking area for The Slot, walk through that, and then drive to the top of the Borrego Mountain Drop-Off and check out those views.  Best in the late afternoon.  Lots of good camping opportunities along Buttes Pass too, just don't get too far off the road (trail) unless you want a ticket from the rangers.  Also, there are restrooms with running water not too far away at the OHV area ranger station at little to the east.

If the lower elevations in Anza Borrego get to be too hot, consider the Blair Valley area.  Lots of places to camp, and it sits a couple thousand feet higher in elevation, so it can be noticeably cooler.  The hike out Pictograph Trail and keep going to the very end at the dry waterfall (you'll know it when you get there) is really spectacular.  The hike up to the old Marshal South adobe home site at the top of Ghost Mountain is also well worth the effort. 

If you would like more ideas for Anza Borrego let me know.

Have a great trip, and be sure to post up a trip report.



beedee

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Re: DV, JTree, Anza-Borrego
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2017, 04:58:34 PM »
Wifey wants to hit Anza on Monday, I'd be also interested in some mild dirt roads to hit away from the crowds.

Anyone have some insight?

FrankB

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Re: DV, JTree, Anza-Borrego
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2017, 05:10:15 PM »
Wifey wants to hit Anza on Monday, I'd be also interested in some mild dirt roads to hit away from the crowds.

Anyone have some insight?

See the post directly above your question.   :D

beedee

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Re: DV, JTree, Anza-Borrego
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2017, 05:12:14 PM »
See the post directly above your question.   :D

Thanks, I'll pull those up on the map.  :D

AGSchu119

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Re: DV, JTree, Anza-Borrego
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2017, 10:34:44 PM »
Good evening everyone.

Thank you so much for all the information, we have taken it all in and have actually called an audible of sorts. We are actually going to scrap Death Valley this time as it seems like a lot of effort for not as much as we want to get out of this trip (more relaxing than more hours on the road).

SO

Joshua Tree and Anza Borrego will be our focus for this next week.

We are going to bust out there tomorrow, check out Old Dale Road and the mines, then head into the park and camp/climb/hike the next day. We will drive up north and check out Amboy Crater/root beers! Any other must do drives in JTree? After we are going to stay in Palm Springs (apparently there is an awesome WWII aircraft museum there).

As far as Anza Borrego, there seem to be too many great options! Fonts Point for sure, Sandstone Canyon/Fish Creek Wash, Blair Valley. We will see what others we come up with!

Thanks again for your time and I will make sure to post pictures and a report!

 


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