3N16 provides a scenic, enjoyable drive for all off-road enthusiasts. At roughly 26 miles, this overland trail will take you through the backwoods of the San Bernardino National Forest. Along with some great views, 3N16 also has a historic route for which more information can be found at Big Bear Discovery Center or Gold Fever Trail's trail review. 3N16 is the main connector between most of the trails in Big Bear, including Holcomb Creek, Dishpan Springs, John Bull, White Mountain, Gold Mountain, and many more. Just be warned that there are several water crossings along this trail that can swell up in flash flood conditions. While snow on this trail can get over 5 feet deep in the winter. Please plan accordingly and travel in pairs.
Comfortably nestled back in the forest of Big Bear, this challenging trail has been attracting visitors for decades. Argued to be the most demanding trail in the Big Bear Mountain range, this trail provides fantastic views along with some of the hardest off-roading in the area. While traveling the trail, expect everything from water crossings and extensive rock gardens to challenging hill climbs. Be warned, this trail has claimed many vehicles over the years and should not be underestimated.
There is no other place like Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Many overlanders and outdoor enthusiasts seek it out for its endless exploration opportunities. Fish Creek Wash is the starting point for many since it connects to many of Anza-Borrego's most famous offroad trails. Wind, rain, powerful earthquakes, landslides, and father time have shaped Fish Creek Wash into a living, geological museum. With its wind caves, dinosaur tracks, fault lines, towering mud hills, sandstone canyons, and wildflowers, Fish Creek is a perfect place to begin your exploration of the astonishing Anza-Borrego.
Goat Canyon Trail is a challenging trail in the southern portion of Anza Borrego Desert State Park. The terrain varies between soft sand, small rock gardens, a rocky canyon, and a heavily rutted dirt hill. Maps show that the hill is one-way and should only be driven downhill. 4WD is necessary, and larger vehicles will have difficulty fitting between the narrow rock walls in the small canyon portion. There are a few large rocks in the trail and a small ledge. The most challenging part of this trail is a steep hill composed of loose sand and dirt. The hill veers into a left turn with large ruts. The hill requires caution because the ground is extremely loose, and it is easy to slide off the edge while trying to descend and turn left. Airing down is highly recommended. The trail ends at Jojoba Wash, which you can take to Highway S2.
Dispersed camping is allowed throughout Anza Borrego, although no suitable campsites are directly off this trail. There are large open areas where multiple vehicles could camp once you get to Jojoba Wash, and a few smaller campsites are suitable for 1-2 vehicles off Dos Cabezas road.
The now-dry McCain Springs at the trail's western end was once Fish Creek's headwater. The trail is lined with tall ocotillo cacti, which make for a stunning drive. Snuggled back in the rocky hillside at the trail's end is a great camping spot large enough for five vehicles near the now-dry spring. This is mountain lion country, so understand the risk.
North Fork Fish Creek, an often overlooked trail in the Anza-Borrego State Park, is a unique and quiet trail splitting off near the Wind Caves on Fish Creek Trail. The trail's canyon cuts through various geologic layers, including sandstone canyons and mud cliffs. The seldom-used trail follows open sandy washes with a few mild rock-crawling opportunities to spice things up, making it a great overlanding trail for the person looking for a place to have the desert to themselves.
North Fork Fish Creek has several flat campsites suitable for any sized group with flat dirt areas and low traffic.
June Wash in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is notable for its desert flower blooms in February and March. The road is primarily sand until the very end, where it enters a badlands and gets narrow and rocky. The trail is an out-and-back. While you could camp in June Wash, it's not ideal.
Consider Vista del Malpais, it's like Font's Point without the crowds. A short uphill drive on an easy road leads to a vantage point overlooking the Borrego Badlands. The Borrego Badlands get their unique topography from being near the trailhead off Short Wash. This trail is suitable for any high-clearance vehicle.
Following the rugged southern edge of Alvord Mountain, CL8157 sits amongst a nest of other trails leading into and continuing around the mountain and local mines.
This trail offers a navigation challenge as conflicting maps and sparse trail markers make this trail difficult to follow. Rains have removed many of the trail markers in the area, and often, the only hint of an official trail is a marker partially buried in the sand.
Softball size stones embedded in the tire-worn tracks are no challenge with a lifted vehicle.
Many locations along the trail offer suitable dispersed camping, and a few existing rock fire rings are next to the trail.
Following the southern edge of Alvord Mountain, CL8207 sits on a sandy basin leading to the convergence of several trails and is a shortcut to CL8140. Dispersed camping is available anywhere along the trail with a few established rock fire rings.
CL8209, a short spur off the main trail, is a wonderful detour to an excellent dispersed campsite. Nestled between sheltering hills, this campsite with room for four or five vehicles has a flat sandy floor that is great for pitching a tent.
This short up-and-back trail is the end of Spanish Canyon but with a different Bureau of Land Management road designation. A steep hill climb ends at a plateau overlooking the broad desert valley to the north and the fenced border of Fort Irwin.
With only two small rocky hills to break up this section of flat desert, CL8238 provides a convenient connection to the Spanish Canyon. The flat sandy trail has barely a rock to avoid. The level desert floor is suitable for dispersed camping anywhere along the way, with a few existing rock fire rings and a choice of hills to cozy up to for shelter from the desert wind.
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