Recent snow and rain have caused many trails to be temporarily closed. Please check with the local agencies for the most up-to-date information.

Fossil Bed Road

5/5 (3 reviews)
Barstow, California (San Bernardino County)
Last Updated: 09/28/2022

Trail Information


This trail starts as Fossil Bed Road and then diverts to the right at a Y. The diverted section is a long, straight, dirt and rock road that travels west across a portion of the eastern Mojave Desert, and eventually along the southern border of the Black Mountain Wilderness. This trail is a connecting trail that provides access to many trails and points of interest. These include Rainbow Basin National Natural Landmark, Owl Canyon Campground, Coons Canyon hiking trail, Fossil Canyon hiking trail, Opal Mountain Road, Hinkley Road, and Black Canyon Road. The connecting trails also lead to other points of interest such as Inscription Canyon, Scouts Cove, and Copper City Road.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

5/5 (3 reviews)
Official Crew
Temporary Closure
Visited: 09/28/2022

Driving Irwin road, we noticed that Fossil Bed Road is blocked off with Road Closed signs.
Rated 5/5
Visited: 05/07/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Easy enough for a 2wd car in good weather up until rainbow basin trail. Going west from there you will need a little more clearance, tire, and experience. There are a few washes, dips, and areas with soft sand.
Visited: 01/18/2021

The section from waypoints 1 to 2 and a little beyond, to the end of Rainbow Basin Loop, is very well graded. Any vehicle can navigate it, including RVs. There is some mild washboarding, but it is flat and 10 ft wide all the way to Owl Canyon Campground and the Rainbow Basin entrance points. From waypoint 3 to 7 the road can be rough, and as described above, has some washouts that can surprise you. You need some clearance to make it. 4wd is preferred because of soft spots, but 2wd would be OK if a buddy is with you. A stock SUV would make it fine. A Suburu should be OK as long as you take it easy. There are twin tracks for large portions of the trail. Both are comparable for ruts and washboards. They are mainly for passing traffic.

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