Afton Canyon

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Off-roaders in Afton Canyon

Afton Canyon Natural Area is located 37 miles northeast of Barstow along Interstate 15 between the Afton Road and Basin Road exits. Afton Canyon is rich in plants, wildlife and riparian topography and is designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.

The trail through Afton Canyon is part of the Mojave Road (a rugged 4-wheel-drive scenic tour that starts at Fort Mojave near Needles and ends at Camp Cady near Harvard road east of Barstow)

The Afton Canyon was frequented by early western explorers like Jedediah Smith, Kit Carson and John Charles Fremont.

Natural Wildlife Habitat[edit]

As the trail passes along the Colorado River route, driving through the Afton Canyon gives you a close experience of this world renowned landscape. You can choose any of the numerous trails that cross your path. These trails vary in length and take you past many cliffs and narrow canyons.

You will always find water in the Canyon, one of a few places where the Mojave river flows above the ground. This year round supply of water makes it a perfect natural habitat for wildlife. No wonder then, Afton Canyon is known as the Grand Canyon of the Mojave.


If you like the outdoors and love adventure, you are guaranteed a great time here. You can choose to indulge in hiking, hunting, camping, nature study, rock hounding, horseback riding or vehicle touring.

The Canyon is noted for its unpredictable climatic changes so be sure to check local weather forecasts before visiting the area. Thunderstorms occur often and can result in flash floods. As a precautionary measure, be sure to inform a friend that you’re making this trip. Don’t forget to carry sufficient water, food, clothing, tools, and first aid supplies for your activity.

The Afton Canyon area is a mix of public and private lands including those held by the Southern Pacific Railroad. You will be expected to avoid trespassing. To avoid any issues ensure that you get updated on the Contact Land status from the Desert Access Guide maps covering this area. These can be purchased at California Desert BLM offices.

The trail through Afton Canyon is part of the Mojave Road, a rugged 4-wheel-drive scenic tour running from Fort Mojave on the Colorado River near Needles to Camp Cady near Harvard Road east of Barstow.


If you prefer camping, there is a designated campsite in the Afton Canyon Campground. This campground is available on a ‘first-come first-serve’ basis. There are tables and fire grates at each campsite. Pit toilets are located in the center of the campground. Backpacking is welcome, however campfires are not permitted outside the designated campground.

Maps and GPS Coordinates[edit]

Afton Canyon Coordinates: 35.042720° -116.309500° Coordinates: 35.042720° -116.309500°

External Links[edit]