San Bernardino National Forest

El Mirage Dry Lake OHV Area

This is an officially designated off-road area that has a number of parts. The dry lakebed itself is most popular with visitors, if not always off-roaders. Still, it's flat clay, hard and smooth, and thus a prime racing surface for all kinds of vehicles, even landsailers. Model rocket and remote control plane enthusiasts love the bed and real planes, if small and private, also land here.

The real favorite spot for off-roaders is the basin, between the lake itself and the ragged jut of the Shadow Mountains. The terrain is kept varied by the dry washes that cross it, but it's an easy ride - if the creosote bushes let you see where you're going. Races are scheduled here frequently.

The Shadow Mountains are a different kind of off-roading experience altogether. If the lake is flat and the basin is a bit rugged, the mountains can get very rough. Sometimes too rough - stay far away from the mining shafts.

The last part of El Mirage is Twin Hills which is, indeed, hilly. It's also largely deserted, so if you want a little more of a secluded experience, this is a good choice.

Location: Between San Bernardino and Barstow
Setting: Desert, Mountainous
Surface: Unmaintained Dirt
Difficulty: Beginner
Length: Thousands of acres
Time to Allow: 3 hours+
Camping Info: Undeveloped; permitted, and usually free
Season: Year round
Phone: 760-388-4411

San Bernardino National Forest
602 S. Tippecanoe Ave
San Bernardino, CA 92408
TTY 800-877-8339


Take Chamberlaine Way from US Highway 395 and go west to Koala Road. Turn right on Koala, and follow the signs to El Mirage, a small town. When you reach El Mirach Road, turn left. Just after you've left town, take Mountain View Road north and you'll enter the area.