Doran Canyon

5/5 (18 reviews)
Barstow, California (San Bernardino County)
Last Updated: 09/26/2022
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Trail Information

Highlights

Doran Canyon of the Odessa / Doran Loop of the Mojave Desert is one of the most difficult off-road rock crawling trails near Barstow, California next to the Calico Ghost Town. When traveling this area, you will notice that the mostly desert landscape is very different than its counterpart Odessa Canyon. Even though these two off-road trails are near the same in difficulty throughout the main body of the trail. Doran has one big difference when it comes to the trail drive, that is "Doran Gatekeeper". Doran's Gatekeeper is an insanely difficult off-road obstacle with rocks larger than your vehicle. The holes between the rocks are so large that it is common for people to put their vehicle on its side between the rocks. It's a spectacle to watch extreme off-road enthusiasts try this legendary obstacle as the rocks look like they are swallowing the vehicle whole. It is common for a Jeep Wrangler or Toyota to disappear in the gap only to receive massive body damage when trying to recover the vehicle out of the holes. But the rest of the trail is no walk in the park, with several large waterfalls and many off-camber tight areas, Doran Canyon will test your driving skills and vehicle to its limits.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Doran Canyon is a rock crawling trail for the experienced drivers with built rigs. The trail offers a 6-foot waterfall, a narrow off-camber canyon just wider than your Jeep, and the hardest obstacle in the area... Doran Canyon's Gatekeeper. There is no right vehicle for Doran Canyon. Short wheelbase Jeeps will be able to maneuver the tight obstacles better while the longer wheelbase vehicles like JKU's and Toyotas will do better on some of the waterfalls. Either way, there is something on this trail that will be hard for almost any offroad vehicle.
Be careful for flash floods, the area is prone to it and there is very little places to escape it. Also, please do not stack rocks in the gatekeeper, keep this obstacle a challenge for the next. If you can't do it, please take the bypass. The lower rating does not include the gatekeeper at the south end. This is an optional obstacle and should only be done in built vehicles with very experienced drivers.

Trail Reviews

5/5 (18 reviews)
Status: Open
Visited: 03/05/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

I think we may have been the first gladiators to attempt this trail, maybe not but definitely a fun trail. More washed out and that waterfall is definitely not 5 feet anymore, I stood at the base of it and I'm just about 6 feet tall. We had a few rigs with 3.5" and 37s but myself and another rig were 2" and 35s, got through everything with alittle skid loving but nothing too bad.
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 02/19/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

For a first time or like me this was a challenging Trail thank God I had a good spotter we took the bypass at the beginning. We immediately had to Bob and weave our way through the boulders and up the waterfalls. The main waterfall was very challenging I tried it a couple of times but I ended up windching myself up it wasn’t due to my spotter it was driver error. But the views in the side exploring of the minds and caves that are there was great if you want to get out of your comfort zone and try something challenging I highly recommend this trail
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 02/19/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

I’m pretty new to this but I had a good spotter witch I’m sure saved me a time or to . We took the buy pass at the start. But then we had to bob and weave are way throughout the rocks,and up the waterfalls . When we came to the big waterfall, I tried it a couple of times. But i ended up winching myself up . I should’ve listened to my spotter better . I didn’t have a good time on this trail I had a great time . The views and the exploring in the caves were great . If your up to getting out of you comfort zone this is the way to do it.
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 12/26/2021
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

We ran Doran Canyon top to bottom after completing Odessa Canyon and this trail was a surprise in a couple of ways. After doing Odessa, this trail seemed pretty tame by comparison. The only really exciting part was going down the waterfall which felt insanely steep for our short wheelbase YJ and TJ Jeeps. I can see how going up the waterfall could easily go bad if you lost traction or picked the wrong line. The other surprise came at the end of the trail when we came upon the gate keeper: After running the whole Odessa Doran loop to this point, we were awestruck by how insane the gatekeeper looked. It was hard to imagine how anyone would make it through! Makes me want to go back on a busy weekend to watch the hardcore buggies attempt it. Anyways, great trail and one that I can't wait to do again soon.
Status: Open
Visited: 12/01/2021
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

We entered from the Odessa canyon and came out from the Doran canyon. It's very fun here, it's worth coming again!
Trail Review: Doran Canyon - daniel wang
Trail Review: Doran Canyon - daniel wang
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