New Dixie Mine Road

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From I10 follow 29 Palms Highway to Yucca Valley and turn left northward when you reach Highway 247, also known as Old Woman Springs Road. Follow the 247 about ten miles until you reach the small settlement of Landers. Landers has two gas stations and grocery stores at which you can refuel and buy food. One, Hero's, has a small cafe which offers traditional country-style fare. As you pass Reche Road, keep your eyes open for New Dixie Mine Road and take a left turn onto the dirt road when you spot it. The most noticable landmark is a large, light-green metal workshop on the north side of the street. Follow New Dixie Mine Road westward for about two hundred yards and you will notice the Landers Community Church to your right. I have always been welcomed to use the church's parking lot as my staging spot.

The trail climbs gradually upward for several miles then enters a canyon after which it follows sandy washes lined with cat's claw acacia and desert willow among other floral species. There are beautiful rock formations on both sides of the trail. You will pass several offshooting trails which mostly enter upon private property.

After about 5 miles, the low desert flora give way to Joshua trees, pines, and chapparal. The trail is challenging in parts (with some steep climbs) but is generally "easy." Sections consisting of switchbacks, whoops, climbs, and some occassionaly brutal rocky stretches of terrain are punctuated by smooth, steady sections that course their way over plateaus before ascending higher into the mountains. The plateau sections of the trail are perfect for enjoying the scenery.

Much of the trail is bordered to the north and south by the Bighorn Mountain Wilderness. Though I have never been lucky enough to have spotted any bighorn sheep, it is said there are small colonies of this mammal scattered throughout these mountains. Branching trails are perfect for hiking and I have found some excellent camping spots along the route. It is important not to drive off the trail as the wilderness is federally protected and the old trails are in various stages of recovery, though I do have to admit I would have loved going further.

This trail has some perfect camp sites. The weather though can be unpredictable even during the warmest summer periods so come prepared for possible changes of weather such as downpours which are not unknown in this part of the state. Also, temperatures can get pretty chilly at night. This particular trail reaches an altitude of over 6,000 ft. so keep that in mind. It is perfect though for summer rides and offers a great escape from the usually torrid temperatures of lower elevations.

After about fifteen miles of westward travel you will come to a cattle crossing guard and shortly thereafter spot the remains of a stone structure to the left. Continue to the left (south). It is here that New Dixie Mine Road becomes Viscera Springs Road. Continue south about three miles and join Burns Canyon Road. If you head east you will arrive at pavement's end at the settlement of Rimrock. Should you continue west, however, you will rise into the San Bernardino Mountains. Burns Canyon Road soon becomes Smarts Ranch Road, which you can take all the way to Cactus Flats staging area in the SB National Forest.

The New Dixie Mine Road trail is approximately fifteen miles long before it reaches other trails that go south and hook up with Burns Canyon Road that stretches between Pioneer Town and Baldwin Lake. Burns Canyon Road, when from pavement's end through the mountains to Cactus Flats OHV staging area in the San Bernardino National Forest, is open to quads and dirt bikes in both directions. I hear that some locals in Burns Canyon are hostile to travelers and there are signs at the road's entrance stating that any cars parked along the side of the road will be towed. This is only for the first seven miles of Burns Canyon Road before it morphs into public land.

The mine (and hence the road) was named after Mr. Nelson's daughter Dixie. It was 'New' because an original mine with that name already existed in Colorado.