Southern California beckons as the hub of the off-highway vehicle community. Natives and visitors are lucky enough to have good riding weather throughout every season. Off-road enthusiast can find a trail from the mountains to the desert that makes them want to get lost in nature. Here are the top ten places in Southern California from most to least rad, for motor-lovers to explore.
1. Ocotillo Wells, Ca ?- Elevation 163 ft.- Level: Beginner to Expert
Ocotillo Wells ? Metal Mulisha Photo
An unincorporated part of San Diego, Ocotillo Wells severed as the location for several hollywood films, including, Sahara starring Humphrey Bogart. Military jeeps began being sold to civilians and dirt bikes became popular in the 1950s. During this time, Ocotillo boomed with off-road enthusiasts seeking adventures.
Today there are over 85,000 acres of ohv-friendly riding available to the public. Bikers ride to off-road attractions like Blow Sandhill, which is a dune formed by a massive sandstorm. Additionally, the area is home to natural hot springs and a field of globular sandstone concretions, which has been nicknamed the pumpkin patch.
2.Ransburg, Ca ? Elevation 3,504 ft.-Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Ransburg ? Dirt Rider Photo
69 individuals reside in Ransburg, Ca. The Randsburg mine produced gold 1895 and thrived for many years. OHV users now enjoy Ransburg as a off-road destination to explore. The best place for visitors to get a cold brew is the White House Saloon. Across the street, visitors can enjoy a sarsaparilla float at the Randsburg Soda Fountain. Thousands of off-roaders flood the main street of Ransburg on holiday weekends and observe the town?s historic structures. Proceed with caution when riding in the open desert around Ransburg, due to many open and unmarked mine shafts.
3. Pioneertown, Ca-Elevation: 4,000 ft.-Level: Beginner
Pioneertown ? Ghost Town Photos
Located off Route 62 in Yucca Valley, Pioneertrown began as a film picture set but was converted to a tourist stop and concert venue, when western films began to lose popularity. An interesting fact is that Roy Rodgers was an original investor in Pioneertown. Now the western haven is a fun place for a bite to eat during off-roading expeditions. The trails in Yucca Valley connect all the way through to Big Bear Mountain and are perfect trails for beginners. Many novice riders will enjoy the beautiful scenery, fun destination and flat fire roads to ride on. Pioneertown?s restaurant Pappy and Harriet?s hosts many musical guests, which has included Paul McCartney.
4. Miller Canyon, Ca-Elevation: 3,350 ft.-Beginner to Expert
Miller Canyon ? Dirt Rider Photo
Miller Canyon is located in San Bernardino County. Riders have the opportunities to see some spectacular views of Lake Silverwood. The trails range from lakeside to mountain peaks with the smell of fresh pine trees. Miller Canyon is maintained by the San Bernardino ranger unit, which allows for pit toilets, staging areas and marked trails. The best season to utilize Miller Canyon is during the summer months. This is due, to the occasional snowfall during the winter in the canyon and the summer heat making the low desert excruciating for riders.
5. Johnson Valley, Ca-Elevation:2, 953 ft.-Level: Beginner to Expert
Johnson Valley ? Trail Tech Photo
Johnson Valley is also located in San Bernardino County but has a much different vibe from the other riding areas in the county. The Valley is a part of the beau of land management controlled OHV areas and borders the United States Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. Johnson Valley is the desert racing capital of the United States and home to the legendary race, The King of Hammers. Johnson Valley sees thousands of visitors every weekend, due to the vast camping space and styles of trails. Numerous lakebeds in Johnson Valley are used for beginners and children to practice on, while more advanced riders enjoy the technical hill climbs. Also, intricate rock formations bring out specialized rock crawling vehicles.
6. Mammoth, Ca-Elevation: 7,880 ft.-Level: Beginner to Expert
When most people think of Mammoth Mountain, they think of winter and snow. Most visitors do not know that Mammoth is still lively in the summer months and home to epic off-road trails. Riders can explore the Jeffrey Pine Forest, San Joaquin Ridge and Deadman?s Creek. The beautiful mountain scenery in Mammoth is a nice change from the Southern California desert riding areas. The best time to visit Mammoth to off-road is the end of July to the end of August, when it is most likely that all the snow will have melted from the mountain peaks. The town of Mammoth also offers a fun nightlife after the riding day is done.
7.Dove Springs/Jawbone, Ca-Elevation 4,483 ft.-Level: Beginner to Expert
Dove Springs -Christina Massari Photo
Many riders refer to this area as Dove Springs, because that is the official name of the canyon. Others call the area Jawbone, because of the name of the general store in the canyon. Dove Springs is a popular camping and off-roading spot, due to the vast level of difficulty of the trails. The fire roads allow families to ride together, while the difficult sandy single-track will entertain experts for hours on end. Many visitors come out in spring, due to the high elevation and cooler temperatures. The ?McIvers Cabin? ride is popular, because visitors can ride up Scodie Mountain to a winter hunting cabin, where there is a geocache and makeshift visitors sign-in book.
8. Calico, Ca- Elevation: 2,284 ft.- Level: Beginner to Expert
Calico ? Ghost Town Photos
Calico Ghost Town is located off interstate 15 and received its name, because of its natural rainbow dirt coloring. Calico is a former silver mining town, which is now a historical landmark and tourist site. The giant white letters CALICO can be found painted on the colorful red mountain behind the town. Calico is home to two mine tours, restaurants, saloon, shops, a cemetery and miles of off-road fun. Visitors can see many ohv?s challenging themselves by climbing mud hills. Many riders also enjoy finding trails to old mines, which are still open to explore today. The town of Calico has special OHV parking and camping sites.
9. Kennedy Meadows, Ca-Elevation: 6,214 ft.- Level: Beginner to Expert
Kennedy Meadows ? Dirt Rider Photo
Kennedy Meadows is famous for being the starting place for many hikers willing to challenge themselves on the Pacific Crest Trail. OHV lovers know Kennedy Meadows best for its fantastic river crossings. Many visitors gather at these river trail crossings to spectate OHV?s attempting to cross. The miles of trails and beautiful meadow flowers make this a destination, unlike many riding areas in Southern California. Kennedy Meadows general store screens classic films under the stars on the weekends. Kennedy Meadows is arguably the most family friendly riding area in Southern California.
10. Glamis, Ca-Elevation: 335 ft.- Level: Beginner to Expert
Glamis ? Off Road Official Photo
Radically switching gears from family friendly is Glamis. If you are looking for a party you will always find one at the Glamis Dunes. The dunes have become one of the most popular riding spots in Southern California, which is why it is packed every weekend. The Dunes require special ohv set up, like paddle tires, because the trails are pure sand. The dunes do not have marked trails, which makes the area a free for all riding space. If you are looking for a place to ride and party, this is it.
For more information about the top ten OHV areas in Southern California, utilize the interactive map below. Happy Riding!