Doran Canyon - Gate Keeper Bypass

Barstow, California (San Bernardino County)

Last Updated: 12/11/2017
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 3-3
Length: 0.7 miles
Highest Elevation: 2400 feet
Duration: About 15 minutes
Shape of Trail: Connector
Best Direction to Travel: North
Nearest Town: Barstow
Nearest Town w/ Services: Barstow
Official Road Name: Doran Canyon Bypass
Management Agency: BLM
District: Barstow Field Office
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Highlight: Doran Canyon - Gate Keeper Bypass

Doran's Bypass is the most popular route to access Doran Canyon. Because of Doran Canyons Gate Keeper being so extreme, this route is the only way for anything less than a buggy to exit or enter Doran Canyon from the south. The route skirts along the top of the ridge looking down in Odessa Canyon and Doran's Gate Keeper making for interesting views when people are trying The Gate Keeper. On the other side of the trail are some great views of the historic Calico Ghost Town that was built in 1881.



7 day forecast for Doran Canyon - Gate Keeper Bypass

Route Information

Advanced Rating System (BETA)

Recommended Vehicle:
Stock SUV with High Clearance and 4 Low

Technical Rating: 3-3

Typically, more rock or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 12" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 12" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 24" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep.

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This easy off-road route will take you along the ridge above Odessa and Doran Canyon. At the north end of the trail, you drop into Doran Canyon just above the Gate Keeper.


1. South End (0.00 mi)

The bypass starts you up the hillside toward Calico Ghost Town on the west side of Odessa Canyon.

2. Mud Hill and Arches (0.10 mi)

Right before the paths up the canyon are several mud arches you can drive through. They make for great photo opportunities, just be careful of your overall height.

3. North End and Gate Keeper Overlook (0.70 mi)

The trail drops you in right at The Gate Keeper, thus allowing you to run the full trail except for the first 100 feet of The Gate Keeper. If for some reason someone in your group attempts the Doran Gatekeeper. Please do not move or stack rock in these obstacles. If you are unable to make this obstacle under your own power, please take the bypass. This is an optional path and is one of the last true hard spots in the area. Many people travel just to try this one spot and if rocks are placed in the obstacle it takes the challenge away from it. Thank you for helping to keep it wild for the next person.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 34.943402, -116.858930

Starting Point: Yermo, CA

From Highway 15 in Barstow, exit the second Ghost Town Road off-ramp. Take Ghost Town Road north roughly 2.5 miles passing Mule Canyon on the right. Turn right onto the dirt road (Odessa Canyon), and you will see a sign just off the road with a map (34.939767, -116.858813). Enter Odessa / Doran Canyon and stay on the dirt road for roughly 0.2 of a mile until you reach a the trails heading west up the hill, take the trail up the hill. Just past this point is the Mud Arches.



Calico offers several types of camping. On this trail, there isn't any good camping but just where the trail begins is plenty of dispersed camping. Also, just feet away from this trail is the Calico Ghost Town Campground which. Unfortunately, they closed the passage between this trail and the campground so you now have to go around. The area around Calico Ghost Town is BLM land. This allows you to tent camp anywhere you like with wood campfires. Please keep in mind that there are lots of trails out there and try not to camp on a trail. Also, remember to pack up all of your trash and take it with you. For those who enjoy something a little more comfortable, you can easily drive RV's & 5th Wheels into the canyons Odessa, Doran, and Mule. If roughing it isn't your thing, Calico also offers a campground with hookups and cabin rentals. You can find more information about the campground and cabins at

Camping: Doran Canyon - Gate Keeper Bypass

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Writer Information

Josh Noesser

Mapping Crew - California

Joshua Noesser grew up in Southern California but has lived in different parts of the country during his young adult life. Josh was first turned to four wheeling when he road with one of his friends dad up Surprise Canyon in the Panamint Valley at age14. After nearly 3 different roll overs later and a half dozen intense waterfalls, Josh was hooked. At 16 he purchased his first Jeep a CJ 7 and by 17 was putting his first locker in it. Currently, Josh is the owner and CEO of Nybble, an IT Solutions Company based in Orange County, California. Nybble isn't your normal IT company where everyone stays in and plays video games. Nybble's average company trip is out on the trails since a good amount of his staff enjoy wheeling too. As Josh likes to say, he offers the only IT Company with the ability to provide services in extreme locations. "If you want a server at the top of The Hammers, we will take care of that for you." Today you can find Josh out on the trail behind the wheel in one of his three different off-road vehicles. See the vehicles below for more information. If you ever run into Josh, please say high, he is a very friendly person and is always happy to have a new person join the group.
For individual use only, not to be shared.