The Bradshaw Trail

3.8/5 (12 reviews)
Blythe, California (Riverside County)
Last Updated: 10/09/2021
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Trail Information


The Bradshaw Trail or the Gold Road to La Paz is a popular overland trail in the southeast corner of California in Riverside County. This once-popular overland stage route used to haul miners and other people looking for the wealth of California. Along the route, you will see many unique features to the area including old mining encampments, abandon train tracks, abandon train tussle, and many unique natural wonders. Because of all these amazing scenic stops, this route has become very popular with the overland community and off-roaders that are looking for a great way to escape the hassles of work. One of the amazing opportunities of this scenic trip is you can make it a day trip or multiple days to get to enjoy all the unique locations along the route. Thus, if you are looking for a unique offroad adventure near Palm Springs and Blythe, California, that could be done in 1 to 3 days and is easy enough for a new driver, look no further than the enjoyable 4x4 adventure of the Bradshaw Trail.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

The Bradshaw Trail is a popular overland route that takes you from the Colorado River to the Salton Sea. Along the route, you follow many unique features from abandon train tracks to old mining areas. The trail is a lightly maintained road meaning it could be in good condition or poor condition based on if there was any weather recently. 4wd is recommended since the soft sands could easily cause problems for 2wd vehicles. The trail on the east end is usually maintained while the trail on the west end is a wash-boarded wash.
The area can get over 100-Degrees easily in the summer. Never travel alone on this trail and always bring extra water. Also, be careful for flash floods during the rainy season, the trail crosses many washes that could swell in seconds.

Trail Reviews

3.8/5 (12 reviews)
Status: Open
Visited: 12/23/2021
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

We did a very small portion of the trail (Red Canyon to the Bridge) and wanted to comment on the status of the bridge. I have been here many times and for the first time the rails have been removed form the bridge. I do not know the future of the bridge but it appears to be getting ready for demolition. if you want to see this piece of History, you may want to go soon.
Trail Review: The Bradshaw Trail - Jon Houchin
Status: Open
Visited: 10/03/2021
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

The trail description is spot on. There are areas of deep sand and if you do not maintain speed you might get stuck. It was my XJ and an 2001 2wd lifted Ford F150 and we did it all in 2wd no problem. There was one point of concern though, due to rains and monsoons the road leading up to red canyon jeep trail turn point and beyond all the way to the bridge is washed out. Using Gaia gps and the track trails offroad made, we were able to make our way to the bridge while staying the good side of the danger signs and back. We continued onto the Red Canyon Jeep trail.
Status: Open
Visited: 04/18/2021

Ran the trail East to West with Land Ops. The trail is in generally great condition until you get to Amy’s Wash, and then the washboard becomes very rough. It’s the type of washboard that causes your vehicle to oscillate and you have to stop. Max speed less than 5mph. I would have rather exited out through Red Canyon and avoid the trestle. The road from the trestle until you get to the Salton Sea isn’t worth seeing anyway and is so rough and exhausting that I won’t do it again. It was even worse as I was pulling a trailer.
Trail Review: The Bradshaw Trail - Jim
Status: Open
Rated 2/5
Visited: 03/10/2021

We took the Bradshaw Trail from the West entrance to Red Canyon Drop In/Red Canyon. We wanted to see the Trail Bridge, but didn't want to start so far East. From the West you take 10 East to 86 South to 66th Ave and go East to Highway 111. Then south on Highway 111 to Parkside Drive (across from Salton Sea Recreational Area) and turn left. Then Left on Desert Aire Dr. Take this up to the Aqueduct and turn right and follow along the Aqueduct to the trail head. There are several trails along the aquaduct, none seem to make sense...just go East. You will see the Entrance sign at the trailhead. This trail is loaded with "washboards". My video doesn't do it justice. Almost miserable. I couldn't imagine going all the way to Blyth, therefore the 2-Star rating. We got to the Train Bridge and then went on to Red Canyon. To be honest a better trail run to see the Train Bridge, but much longer, would be a big loop running Red Canyon North to South, then east to the Train Bridge. Then Double back, but go up Red Canyon Drop In and back up North on Red Canyon. See my review of Red Canyon. Of course my camera glitched the video of the Train was pretty cool.
Trail Review: The Bradshaw Trail - Paul Crawford
Trail Review: The Bradshaw Trail - Paul Crawford
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Status: Open
Visited: 03/02/2021

Just a heads up, we are going to do this trail on March 13th so I was checking other sites to learn more about it and I ran across a posting in All Trails that said the Navy had closed the road. I checked with the Navy contact person named in the post and she said the road is open and the posting was in error.

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