Claw Hammer

Lucerne, California (San Bernardino County)

Last Updated: 05/09/2022
5 / 5 ( 10 reviews )
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Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 0.63 miles
Highest Elevation: 3300 feet
Duration: About 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: East
Nearest Town: Lucerne
Nearest Town w/ Services: Lucerne
Official Road Name:
Management Agency: BLM
District: Barstow Feild Office


Highlight: Claw Hammer
A true legend of the off-roading world, and often called the easier of the three Hammer Trails. Claw Hammer, located in Johnson Valley in Southern California, home of King of the Hammers, offers a difficult to severe-rated rock crawling trail in a short but exciting package. Be ready for lots of technical obstacles with cringe-worthy waterfalls, mountainous rocks, and boulders that just don't seem to offer a way around. The risk of doing body damage is high, along with vehicle failure. According to how experienced your group is, you can get through this trail in as short as 45 minutes. But the average group takes about 4 hours. Whether you are a Jeep person, Toyota junky, or a buggy driver, when looking for a truly epic offroad trail that makes most people's top 5 lists, check out Claw Hammer.


Route Information

Technical Rating


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1. West Trailhead (0 mi)
It's not too hard to find Claw Hammer. From the sandhill, go east up the big canyon and stay to the south edge of the hill. It will start getting narrow, and you can't miss the trailhead. Just look for the 4-10 foot rocks in the trail.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Lucerne Valley, California

To get to this part of Johnson Valley from Lucerne, take Old Woman Springs Road (Highway 247) east for 24.5 miles. Turn north at the Johnson Valley Sign (Boone Road). Follow this road roughly 4 miles to the dry lake bed (Means Dry Lake). Located north of the dry lake, the trail goes east. The trail starts here: 34.438409, -116.476347. The best landmark to find for this trail is the large sandhill to the north of the lake bed. The trail is to the east of it.



Land Use Issues

The US Government has come to an agreement with the Off-Roaders that use the area, and we will be sharing areas of the land in Johnson Valley with the US Military. During these times which are unknown, civilians will not be allowed in the area. There is no set schedule yet of when it will be closing and reopening. This is a growing concern for many people that enjoy the area for the fear that they will permanently close this area after the first time they use this area for Military training. You can find more information on closures by clicking here

Trail Reviews (16)

Questions & Answers (1)

Q: Josh, how / where do i upload pictures? You suggested leaving a trip report, how do i do that?
–Mike Gile (01/14/2020)
–Josh Noesser (01/14/2020)
–Josh Noesser (01/14/2020)

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.