2N02 - Burns Canyon

Yucca Valley, California (SanBernardino County)
Last Updated: 04/03/2018
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Difficulty: 1-3
Length: 20 miles
Highest Elevation: 7072 feet
Duration: About 1 hour 30 minutes
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: West
Nearest Town: Yucca Valley
Nearest Town w/ Services: Big Bear City
Official Road Name: 2N02
Management Agency: US Forest Service
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Highlight: 2N02 - Burns Canyon

Burns Canyon Road-2NO2 is a well traveled overland trail from Pioneertown into Baldwin Lake. This trail provides access to many of the off road trails in the Big Bear area and offers some amazing views of the surrounding areas. Your journey will take you from the low desert floor to high up into the San Bernardino National Forest in just a few short hours. For many Palm Springs locals this trail is an escape from the heat, and gives them an excuse to wheel during the hot summer months in the cool mountain air. You will encounter many stunning Joshua tree forests in the lower desert elevations, and tall pine trees as you enter the Forest. The trail is well marked so do your best to tread lightly among these old trees, and help keep this trail open for many years to come.


Route Information

Technical Rating: (1-3)

Dirt road. Rutted, washes, or gulches. Water crossings up to 6" depth. Passable mud. Grades up to 10 degrees. Small rocks or holes. 4WD recommended but 2WD possible under good conditions and with adequate ground clearance and skill. No width problems for any normal vehicle. Vehicle passing spots frequently available if less than two vehicles wide.

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Burns Canyon Road or 2NO2 as it is commonly referred to is an overland trail that takes you from the historic picturesque town of Pioneertown to the quaint little mountain town of Baldwin Lake. The first seven miles of the trail are lined with mountain homes,and there is a posted speed limit of 10 MPH. Try to please obey the posted speed limit as you make your way to the trailhead. Burns Canyon Road-2NO2 is a fairly simple trail with no real obstacles to speak of, just a few small hill climbs and a few rough areas nothing to serious. The entire trail is rather narrow with some spots being just wide enough for a rig to squeeze by, and in other places there is more than enough room to pass. Keep your eyes open around the blind corners, there might be a dirt bike or another rig headed around the corner. Burns Canyon Road takes between an hour to and hour and a half depending on how fast you drive and traffic along the trail. The whole trail can be driven in 2 wheel drive with a few spots needing 4 wheel drive, but there is not many places you will need 4 wheel drive. The trail is well worn and smooth in most places with the exception of the mountain ridges they tend to be a bit rocky. As you start your trip down the trail you are surrounded by a forest of massive old Joshua Trees. Once you reach the higher elevations you will be greeted with pine trees and fresh air. The end of the trail offers beautiful glimpses of Big Bear Lake in the distance and the picturesque mountain landscape. Burns Canyon Road-2NO2 ends in a residential area adjacent to Baldwin Lake Road, this road will take you into Big Bear if you choose to explore the town or the many other trails in the area.


1. Burns Canyon-2NO2

The trailhead is well marked with a wooden sign and the USFS road number 2NO2 the sign is placed among the huge Joshua trees that greet you at the start. Burns Canyon Road-2NO2 trailhead is big enough for a rig coming from either direction to pass, and If needed there is more then enough room to stage at the trailhead. Get ready to follow the leader and enjoy a day full of wheeling, and enjoy the beautiful views and cool fresh mountain air! Burns Canyon Road-2NO2 is the main connector for many of the trails in this area, keep your eyes open for many of the fun and exciting trails along Burns Canyon Road-2NO2!

2. 2N61Y - Heartbreak Ridge Trail (Stay North)

Continue straight. Off to the south is the split off to 2N61Y - Heartbreak Ridge. The trail is an intermediate trail with difficult spots. Do not attempt this trail alone.

3. Old Pontiac

For the past few months there has been an old Pontiac along the side of the trail. The Pontiac was pulled from the side of the ridge in a effort to help clean up the trail, it is free game for whoever wants to take it home and scrap it. The Pontiac is pushed far enough to the side that it does not interfere with the flow of traffic on the trail. I have come to the conclusion that people like to dump old Pontiac's in this area as there are a few scattered around, there is even a trail in the area named Pontiac Sluice!

4. Mine With A View

There are several mines along Burns Canyon Road-2NO2 and one of the first mines you encounter on the trail has an amazing view of the trail and the valley below. The turn off for the mine is big enough for a couple rigs to park side by side. There is a heavy gate blocking off the entrance with a sign warning of the dangers of the mines in the area. There is plenty of shade making this spot a nice place to sit and enjoy lunch with a great view.

5. The Mines

There are several mines located along Burns Canyon Road-2NO2 just before you reach the Tip Top Mountain Trail. The mines are all blocked with heavy steel gates or have been caved in and fenced off preventing the would-be explorer, or treasure seeker from venturing in the old mine shafts. The famous Rose Mine is located smack dab in the middle of Burns Canyon Road-2NO2. Rose mine was said to be the most productive mine in the area producing between 600,000 to 1.2 million dollars in the short 20 years it was mined. The crazy thing is that there is virtually no remnants of the mining operation and 40 ton stamp mill that was used to crush the ore from the mine. The only clue that there was ever any mining operations in the area are the piles of red tailing's all over, these tailing's are also how the mine got the name Rose mine.

6. Views From The Trail

There are several points along the trail where you can branch off and check out the view of Burns Canyon Road-2NO2 as it zig zags around the mountain into Baldwin Lake. Take some time to explore some of the many off shoots that lead to the mines in the area or some of the other fun trails in the area.

7. 2NO2-3NO3 Split

As you make your way down the trail and past Tip Top Mountain you will climb a small hill and reach the Burns Canyon Road-2NO2 and 3NO3-Smarts Ranch Road split. Stay to the left and continue down 2NO2 into Baldwin Lake. If you decide to head down 3NO3 Smarts Ranch Road, this trail will also lead to Baldwin Lake.

8. Small Rock Face

You have reached one of the only obstacles along the trail. This is not much of an challenge just a small rock face with a few ruts. 4 wheel drive should not be needed over this obstacle but use your best judgement.

9. Concrete Bridge

A couple miles outside of Baldwin Lake there is a concrete bridge that crosses a now stagnate creek. This section of the trail use to be a shallow water crossing, but the Forest Service has since built a bridge to keep rigs out of the water. The creek or stream is now stagnate with no fresh running water due in part to the mountain's not really getting any snow this past year.

10. Baldwin Lake

You have reached the quaint mountain town of Baldwin Lake. As you descend into Baldwin lake you receive amazing views of the town and Big Bear Lake. The road down into Baldwin Lake is very bumpy, but still big enough for 2 rigs to pass in either direction. The Baldwin Lake trailhead is well marked just like the trailhead in Pioneertown with a wooden sign marked with 2NO2. Watch out for rigs coming up from the Baldwin Lake trailhead as this trail can be ran in both directions, and is normally very busy on the weekends. Once you make it to Baldwin Lake head over to Big Bear and explore some of the other trails in the area.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 34.233629, -116.644573

Directions to Burns Canyon-USFS Trail 2NO2 trailhead headed on the I-10 East bound from the Inland Empire or Los Angeles. Take the I-10 East bound until you see exit 117 onto CA-62 to Yucca Valley/ 29 Palms Continue 20 miles on CA-62. Turn left off of CA-62 onto Pioneertown Road continue 8.8 miles on Pioneertown Road until it becomes Rim Rock Road. Follow Rim Rock Road until it crosses Burns Canyon Road, turn left off of Rim Rock Road onto Burns Canyon Road, Burns Canyon Road becomes an unpaved dirt road. Continue 8 miles on Burns Canyon Road, and you will reach a small wooden sign marked with 2NO2 this is the true trailhead.


There is rural camping located in Round Valley just off Burns Canyon Road-2NO2, so pack in what you need for the weekend and pack out more than you have brought in. Please obey all posted fire signs as this area just had a major wildfire!
Camping: 2N02 - Burns Canyon

Writer Information

John Ayala

Mapping Crew - California
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Born and raised in the beautiful Southern California desert, I grew up 4 wheeling all over the lower desert. My stepdad would let me sit on his lap in our 93 Toyota SR5 5 speed and drive around the desert after we made early morning dump runs. I was hooked from an early age I got a dirtbike and never looked back I felt more at home out in the desert riding then anywhere else. I eat and breath beating my jeep on any trail I can. I work 5 days of the week as an electrical contractor for a small company me and my dad own, on the weekends and after work I build my jeep to get beat on. my rig I drive a 97 2.5L TJ named Lil Red, she's running a front lockrite locker , and a rear Spartan locker in the rear, 4:10s up front and 4:11s. sittin on 31s and a 3 1/4" lift with front sway bar discos and adjustable control arms front to rear custom made by CORE 4x4, sye kit and Adams custom drive shaft. Custom Flat fenders up front, custom rock sliders that show the rock rash and dents, custom built roll cage with race seats and 5 point harnesses. Front and rear custom built bumpers and a 52" led light bar and some led cubes and hi lift jack.


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Trail Reviews (5)

Status: Open
Offroaded on: 04/01/2018
Came up from pioneer town. Definitely a few sections there that 2wd would really struggle unless you are a very good driver. Definitely a must drive! I will be doing it again.

Status: Open
Offroaded on: 03/31/2018
Ran this trail in stock height Tacoma TRD 4x4OH and Chevy Colorado Z71 out and back starting at Pioneertown. What a fun trail this was! Beautiful views to go along with a trail that takes you through sand, rocks, ups, downs, and all arounds! I firmly believe this trail is a 3 due to the frequent sections of rocks and ruts. Never had to get out and spot and never had any issues with clearance for being in stock height trucks, but did have maybe one or 2 sections that initially looked a little sketchy. Just for fun, we did the trail back from Big Bear to Pioneertown in 2wd drive and never even struggled. Sure it wasn't the easiest or smoothest ride, but it was very manageable if you know what you're doing and have sufficient clearance; just be careful of the narrow roads and cliffs! Also, don't forget to stop by historical Pappy & Harriet's for a beer before heading back home. Check out the video for footage of our entire run up to Big Bear.

Status: Open
Offroaded on: 03/29/2018
I did this from Baldwin lake to Pioneer town and I agree with the other comment about the recent rains making this trail a little harder. I have a 4wd crv and there were a few spots (uphill rocky and rutted sections) that I got lucky with the line I chose. Overall this is a fun trail, I started on the west end of 3N16 and continued to 2N02 into Yucca Valley.

Status: Open
Offroaded on: 03/24/2018
By far one of my favorite runs. Amazing scenery with the transition from high desert to the high country. However I would consider this trail a 4 minus. Due to recent rains/snow washouts, as of March 2018 there are a few rocky areas that are very unlikely with a 2WD (stock) vehicle going up from Rimrock. If you're running from Baldwin Lake there are a few rutted steep-ish hill climbs that are pushing the limits of 2WD as well.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on: 12/04/2016
Hi, I was only on the northwestern 3 miles of 2N02 Burns Canyon in route to mapping 2N87Y Erwin Road. My photos are from that trailhead. This portion of the trail is in great shape with light snow on the ground.