Mid Hills Campground

Mid Hills Campground    35°07’54”N 115°26’08”W Elevation 5603′


The Mid Hills

North View from campground

Topographic Map of Area

Location: Mojave National Preserve

Access: Take I-15 to the 40 east, turn north on Essex Road. Take a right on Black Canyon road, proceed about 22 miles. Watch for signs.

Facilities: 26 sites. Water, toilets, picnic tables, fire rings.

Season: Open year round.

Fees: $12/night

Nearby Hiking Trails: Wild Horse Canyon trail to the south takes you 7 miles to Hole-In-The-Wall.

Nearby 4X4 Trails: Numerous unnamed dirt and sand 4×4 trails.

Managing Agency: National Park Service

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Hole-in-the-Wall Campground

Hole-in-the-Wall Campground       35°02’36”N  115°23’45”W Elevation 4259′

The ‘Holes’ in the wall

Overlooking the campground

Topographic map of area

Access:
Take I-15 to the 40 east. Exit north on Essex Road. Just before the powerlines the road forks. Take the northeast fork and watch for the sign.
Facilities:
35 sites, pit toilets, fire rings, picnic tables.
Season:
Open year round. VERY hot in summer.
Fees:
$12 per night
Nearby Hiking Trails:
Too many dirt roads and trails to count!
Nearby 4×4 Trails:
Too many dirt roads and trails to count!
Comments:
Current Weather:
Click here for the current ‘pointcast’ for this spot. (‘Pops up’ in a new window)
Managing Agency:
National Park Service

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Afton Canyon Campground

Afton Canyon Campground       35°02’21”N  116°22’57”W Elevation 1414′

Afton Campground

Railroad bridge

Topographic map of area

Access:
Take I-15 37 miles north of Barstow to Afton R. exit. Follow Afton Rd 3 1/2 miles to campground.
Facilities:
22 sites, first come first serve.
Season:
Open year round. VERY hot in summer.
Fees:
$6 per night
Nearby Hiking Trails:
Numerous hiking trails throughout the Afton Natural Area.
Nearby 4×4 Trails:
This is a stopping point on the Mohave Road, a 150 year old pioneer trail from Barstow to the Colorado River.
Comments:
This is a great place to spot birds and wildlife. One of the few places where the Mojave River flows on the surface.
Current Weather:
Click here for the current ‘pointcast’ for this spot. (‘Pops up’ in a new window)
Managing Agency:
Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

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Jumbo Rocks  

Jumbo Rocks       33°59’28”N  116°03’38”W Elevation 4349′

Piles of Boulders

Now THAT’S a jumbo rock!

Topographic map of area

Access:

Interstate 10 East to Hwy 62 North (Twentynine Palms Highway). Turn south into the park Joshua Tree Village. Follow the main road bearing south and east.

Facilities:

125 sites, no water. Crowded on weekends.

Season:

Open all year, most popular in Winter/Spring

Fees:

$5 camping fee in addition to the $10 entrance fee.

Nearby Hiking Trails:

Skull Rock: 1.7-mile loop trail begins at Jumbo Rocks Campground, just beyond loop E.

Nearby 4×4 Trails:

Geology Tour Road: The road turns south from the paved road 2 miles west of Jumbo Rocks Campground. The distance from the junction to Squaw Tank is 5.4 miles. This section is mostly downhill but bumpy and sandy. Starting at Squaw Tank, a 6-mile circular route can be taken that explores Pleasant Valley.

Comments:
This is the most popular (and most crowded) campground in the park.
Current Weather:
Click here for the current ‘pointcast’ for this spot. (‘Pops up’ in a new window)
Managing Agency:
National Park Service

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Cottonwood Springs Campground

Cottonwood Springs Campground       33°44’42″N  115°48’45″W Elevation 3121′

Cottonwood Oasis

Cottonwood Oasis

Topographic map of area Click to enlarge for printing.

Access:  
From the south, enter the park off I-10 on Cottonwood Springs Road, 25 miles west of Indio.
Facilities:

62 sites, water and flush toilets, a good tent site; crowded on weekends. Group camping by reservation – 3 sites.
Season:
Open all year.
Fees:
$10, $15/group.
Nearby Hiking Trails:
Mastodon Peak Trail: 3-mile roundtrip, 2-3 hours, difficulty level is moderate. Trail begins at the Cottonwood Spring or Cottonwood Campground. On this trail you will see excellent views of the Eagle Mountains and Salton Sea. Summit elevation is 3371 feet. Lost Palms Trail: 8.0 miles one way, 4 – 6 hours, Moderate level. Canyon with numerous palm stands.
Nearby 4×4 Trails:
Old Dale Road ~ Gold Crown Road to Pinto Basin. 4WD Required, also excellent Mountain Bike Trail. Time by Car: 1.5 to 2 hours Distance: 23 Miles (one way)
Comments:
This is the most ‘developed’ campground in the park.
Current Weather:
Click here for the current ‘pointcast’ for this spot. (‘Pops up’ in a new window)
Managing Agency:
National Park Service

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Salton Sea State

Salton Sea State Recreation Area 33°30’32”N 115°55’06”W Elevation -206′

 

Uncrowded shoreline Great fishing and birdwatching Topographic Map of Area
(Click to enlarge for printing)


Location: Imperial County

Access: 30 miles south of Indio on Highway 111. Located on the northeastern side of the Salton Sea, it is about a three hour drive from the Los Angeles area. The park is located between Highway 10 on the North, and Highway 8 on the South. Highway 111, south of Indio in the Coachella Valley, runs along the lake’s northeast side.

Facilities: 50 sites, some with RV hookups. Restrooms, showers, dump station. Dogs must be kept on leashes no longer than 6′ and in a tent or enclosed vehicle at night. Except for guide dogs, pets are not allowed in park buildings, on trails, or on most beaches. In addition to this campground at the park headquarts, 4 additional campgrounds are located within the park: Mecca Beach Campground, Corvina Beach Campground, Salt Creek Beach Campground and Bombay Beach Campground.

Season: Open year round.

Fees: $12 off-season, $18 in-season. Fees include entry for 1 vehicle and 1 legally towed vehicle or trailer, additonal vehicles will be charged per night at the park. Campsite assignments are made upon your arrival.

Nearby Hiking Trails: Each campground has a small, loop, nature trail. Best hiking is along the shoreline.

Nearby 4X4 Trails: None within park. Surrounding area has many dirt roads. Refer to topographic map for details.

Managing Agency: California Department of Parks & Recreation.

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Hungry Valley OHV Area

Hungry Valley OHV Area

Rules and Regulations: US Forest Service Approved Spark Arrestors and current California off-road vehicle registration (green stickers) or highway registration are required at all times when operating OHVs on public lands. The California off highway ID plate must be displayed as proscribed by law (CVC 38170c). Funds generated from OHV registration along with a portion of the state gas tax are used for the acquisition, development and operation of OHV areas throughout California. Speed limit is 15 mph within 50 feet of a campground, campsite, or concentration of people or animals.

California’s Basic Speed Law applies: Don’t drive faster than is safe for conditions. You may not drive a motor vehicle on a trail or a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent and in no event at a speed that endangers the safety of other persons or their property. Gold Hill Road is a public highway. Laws that pertain to driving under the influence of alcohol are exactly the same for off-highway as they are for on-highway vehicle operations. Don’t drink and drive. SVRA and National Forest OHV Trails are open to two-way traffic.

Ride and drive defensively. Always anticipate oncoming traffic. Shooting and hunting are prohibited within the SVRA, but allowed on most National Forest lands. Check with Rangers for information on legal target practice and hunting areas. Dogs must be kept on a leash during the day and in a vehicle or tent at night. No wood gathering or ground fires are allowed. Fires are allowed only in self-contained equipment or the fire rings provided. Bring your own firewood or purchase wood at the SVRA. All ATV operators are required to wear a safety helmet meeting U.S. Department of Transportation safety standards. It’s unlawful, as well as extremely unsafe, to ride double on an ATV.

Managing Agency: California Dept. of Parks and Recreation

Fees: Overnight camping $10.00, collected at entry station.

Location: Tejon Pass.

Access: Tejon Pass north of Los Angeles and along the Interstate 5 corridor.

Activities: Camping is available in over 2000 acres throughout the Open Use/Camping Zone at Hungry Valley SVRA. Ten semi-developed campgrounds are furnished with a vault restroom and refuse disposal container. Each of the 150 campsites feature a shade ramada, picnic table, and a fire ring. Neither drinking nor non-potable water is available anywhere within the recreation area – water will need to be in containers and brought into the park.


The wide variety of trails at Hungry Valley provide excitement for both beginner and experienced off-roaders. For experienced OHVers challenging trails can be found in the hills and sand washes of the back- country section of the SVRA. Beginners can enjoy the scenery and relative ease of the trails in the Native Grasslands Management Area. Trails in the adjoining Los Padres National Forest are recommended for experienced riders only. Over 4,000 acres are available for open riding. OHV use in this zone is not restricted to designated trails and is allowed in virtually all locations within this zone. The open riding zone contains a variety of terrain, from flat areas and sand washes to rolling hills and steep hill climb areas.

Over 130 miles of trail have been developed within the 15,000 acres in the Trail Use Zone. In this zone OHV use is restricted to designated trails only. Developed trails have been named and are signed with white trailside markers. A mini-track is open for public use near the Smith Forks Campground. The one acre mini-track is completely fenced off from the general riding area and is designed specifically for beginning riders on 90cc or smaller motorcycles and ATVs. The track contains a series of twists, turns and small jumps and is an ideal area for parents to supervise and coach young riders developing their riding skills in a controlled, safe environment.

A 10 acre site adjacent to the Aliklik Campground has been developed to provide an area where 4-wheel drive enthusiasts may test their personal capabilities and that of their vehicles. The practice area contains eight man-made features that replicate conditions and terrain found throughout California’s back-country. Visitors may operate their 4-wheel drive vehicles on their own, or join a formal safety and operations class conducted by California Association of 4-Wheel Drive Clubs certified instructors. For information on classes offered at Hungry Valley, call (800) 494-3866.

Comments: Hungry Valley is the second largest unit of California State Park’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division. Located in the Tejon Pass north of Los Angeles and along the Interstate 5 corridor, Hungry Valley offers 19,000 acres and over 130 miles of scenic trails for motorcycle, All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV), dune buggys, and 4×4 recreation. All levels of Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) operator skills will be challenged by the wide variety of terrain and trails at Hungry Valley SVRA. Elevations at Hungry Valley range from 3,000 to nearly 6,000 feet.

Occasional snow falls occur during the winter. Summers are most often hot, dry and dusty. The most pleasant times of the year for OHV fun are during the Spring and Fall months when the temperatures are mild and occasional rain showers make for good traction and reduced dust. Night-time temperatures often drop below freezing in the Spring and Fall, as well as during the Winter. The wide variety of trails at Hungry Valley provide excitement for both beginner and experienced off-roaders. For experienced OHVers challenging trails can be found in the hills and sand washes of the back- country section of the SVRA. Beginners can enjoy the scenery and relative ease of the trails in the Native Grasslands Management Area. Trails in the adjoining Los Padres National Forest are recommended for experienced riders only.

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Pudding Stone Reservoir

Location: In San Dimas near the 10/210 junction. Take Via Verde Rd. to the lake.
Hours: Summer hours (March 1 to September 30) Sunrise to 9:00 p.m. Winter Hours (October 1 to February 28) Sunrise to 7:00 p.m.
Fees: $10.00 per car, + $7-$11 for boat permit.
Facilities:Launch ramp, picnic area, campsite, boat rentals.
Species: Trout, bass, bluegill, catfish, carp, red dear and crappie.
Stocking: Trout in Winter, Catfish in Summer.
License: Required.
Website: http://www.bonellipark.org/index.html

Comments: Nightfishing in summer up to 10pm.

Current conditions:(Updated 6/10/2012) No Report. If you would like to send a report, email it to postmaster@socalcamping.com

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Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)

Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)

Banded Gecko
General Distribution

The banded gecko exists in two forms in California. The desert banded gecko (C. v. variegatus) is common to uncommon in the desert from northern Inyo Co. south to Mexico. It is found from below sea level to 1500 m (5000 ft) in all desert habitats up to pinyon-juniper or mixed chaparral, but is most abundant in sandy flats and desert washes (Klauber 1945). The San Diego banded gecko (C. v. abbotti) occurs in coastal and cismontane southern California from interior Ventura Co. south, although it is absent from extreme outer coast. It is uncommon in coastal scrub and chaparral, most often occurring in granite or rocky outcrops in these habitats (Klauber 1945, Stebbins 1972).

Habitat Requirements

The desert banded gecko occurs in a wide variety of habitats, however the San Diego banded gecko prefers rocky or granite outcrops.

Reproduction

Mating occurs from April to May, eggs are laid from May through September, and hatchlings appear July through November (Stebbins 1954, Fitch 1970, Parker 1972, Miller and Stebbins 1964). Males emerge in April and attain peak testes size in May followed by testicular regression (Parker 1972). The highest frequency of gravid females was in May and June (Parker 1972). Clutch size is two eggs, one per ovary or oviduct. Eggs are sometimes laid one at a time on different days (Parker 1972). Females store sperm and can produce multiple fertile clutches per season (Mayhew 1968, Parker 1972). Two to three clutches per season are produced. Estimates of incubation time are 30 to 45 days. Males and females reach maturity within one year at 52 mm (2.08 in) and 56 mm (2.24 in), respectively (Fitch 1970, Parker 1972).

Daily/Seasonal Activity

Nocturnal. The peak activity period is two hours after sunset (Klauber 1945, Miller and Stebbins 1964), however, banded geckos may come out in the late afternoon to absorb heat (Brattstrom 1952). They are active April through October with a peak in May. Juveniles may be intermittantly active November through March (Klauber 1945, Parker 1972).

Diet and Foraging

Banded geckos are opportunistic foragers on insects and other arthropods including beetles, termites, spiders, grasshoppers, sowbugs, and insect larvae (Klauber 1945, Parker and Pianka 1974).

Territoriality/Home Range

Parker (1972) estimated densities of 12-25 geckos/ha (5-10 acre) in Arizona. By driving roads at night, Klauber (1945) found 19.4 per 160 km (100 mi) in the Borrego area in San Diego Co. On the best trips he encountered one gecko on the road every 3.2 km (2 mi), or 24 specimens in 78.4 km (49 mi). Aggressive interactions between males in the laboratory suggest the possibility of territoriality in the field, or may be a means of sex recognition in a species that is not sexually dimorphic. During the day geckos tended to aggregate in shelters in the laboratory (Greenberg 1943).

Predator-Prey Relations

Predators include leaf-nosed snakes, western patch-nosed snakes, night snakes, sidewinders, western diamondback rattlesnakes, coachwhips, and zebra-tailed lizards (Klauber 1945, Funk 1965, Parker 1972). Other possible predators are tarantulas, large centipedes, solpugids, other rattlesnake species, coyotes and foxes (Parker 1972). Tail autotomy is believed to be an important defense mechanism from enemies (Parker 1972, Parker and Pianka 1974). The tail is raised and undulated at the approach of a predator (Johnson and Brodie 1974).

Literature Cited

Brattstrom, B. H. 1952. The food of the night lizards, genus Xantusia. Copeia 1952:168- 172.
Dixon, J. R. 1970a. Coleonyx. Cat. Am. Amphibians and Reptiles 95.1-95.2.
Dixon, J. R. 1970b. Coleonyx variegatus. Cat. Am. Amphibians and Reptiles 96.1-96.4.
Fitch, H. S. 1970. Reproductive cycles in lizards and snakes. Univ. Kans. Mus. Nat. Hist. Misc. Publ. 52:1-247.
Funk, R. S. 1965. Food of Crotalus cerastes laterorepens in Yuma County, Arizona. Herpetologica 21:15-17.
Greenberg, B. 1943. Social behavior of the western banded gecko, Coleonyx variegatus Baird. Physiol. Zool. 16:110-122.
Huey, R. B., and E. R. Pianka. 1983. Temporal separation of activity and interspecific dietary overlap. Pages 281-290 in R. B. Huey, E. R. Pianka, and T. W. Schoener, eds. Lizard Ecology. Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge. 501pp.
Johnson, J. A., and E. D. Brodie, Jr. 1974. Defensive behavior of the western banded gecko, Coleonyx variegatus. Anim. Behav. 22:684-687.
Klauber, L. M. 1945. The geckos of the genus Coleonyx with description of new subspecies. Tran. San Diego Soc. Nat. Hist. 10:133-216.
Mayhew, W. W. 1968. The biology of desert amphibians and reptiles. Pages 195-356 in G. W. Brown, Jr., ed. Desert Biology, Vol. 1. Academic Press, New York. 638pp.
Miller, A. H., and R. C. Stebbins. 1964. The lives of desert animals in Joshua Tree National Monument. Univ. California Press, Berkeley. 452pp.
Parker, W. S. 1972. Aspects of the ecology of a Sonoran desert population of the western banded gecko, Coleonyx variegatus (Sauria, Eublepharinae). Am. Midl. Nat. 88:209-220.
Parker, W. S., and E. R. Pianka. 1974. Further ecological observations on the western banded gecko, Coleonyx variegatus. Copeia 1974:528-531.
Stebbins, R. C. 1954. Amphibians and reptiles of western North America. McGraw-Hill, New York. 536pp.
Stebbins, R. C. 1972. California amphibians and reptiles. Univ. California Press, Berkeley. 152pp.
Stebbins, R. C. 1985. A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. 2nd ed., revised. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 336pp.

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Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes)

Sidewinder

General Distribution

The sidewinder is widely distributed and locally abundant in the Colorado and Mojave deserts and north just into the southern Great Basin. It is found from sea level to 1800 m (6000 ft) in a wide variety of desert habitats, including woodlands, shrub types, barren areas, and dunes. It is most abundant in desert washes and flats with shrub cover and wind-blown sand, especially at the bases of bushes where the snakes often wait, partially buried. This snake is active from mid-spring to early fall, but activity may be restricted during the hottest part of the summer (Cowles 1945, Klauber 1944, 1972, Lowe and Norris 1950, Stebbins 1954).

Habitat Requirements

This snake has a set of behavioral and morphological specializations for living in sand. It normally buries itself in a coil in fine sand at the base of a bush, if available, or in the open. It may occasionally use mammal burrows or surface cover objects.

Reproduction

Copulation occurs shortly after emergence in April and May and the young are born in mid-summer. Litters average 11 young and range from 7-13 (Stebbins 1954, Klauber 1972).

Daily/Seasonal Activity

This snake is primarily nocturnal, but in the early spring it is active at dusk and even occasionally during the day. It is active from early to mid-spring until late summer or early fall. Populations of southerly or warmer areas become active earlier. It sometimes ceases activity in mid-summer, when temperatures are highest (Stebbins 1954, Klauber 1972). Not known to migrate.

Diet and Foraging

This snake eats small mammals (Dipodomys, Perognathus, etc.), lizards (Cnemidophorus, Uta, Uma, Phrynosoma, etc.) and occasionally birds (Stebbins 1954, Klauber 1972). It is an active forager, but it also waits under bushes for prey, partially buried in sand.

Territoriality/Home Range

Males may be territorial but evidence is not clear (Lowe and Norris 1950).

Predator-Prey Relations

This snake is eaten by kingsnakes and roadrunners, and probably by most avian and mammalian desert predators.

Literature Cited

Cowles, R. B. 1945. Some of the activities of the sidewinder. Copeia 1945:220-222.
Klauber L. M. 1944. The sidewinder, Crotalus cerastes, with description of a new subspecies. Trans. San Diego Soc. Nat. Hist. 10:91-126.
Klauber, L. M. 1972. Rattlesnakes: their habits, life histories, and influence on mankind. 2nd ed. Univ. California Press, Berkeley. 1533pp.
Lowe, C. H., and K. S. Norris. 1950. Aggressive behavior in male sidewinders, Crotalus cerastes, with a Discussion of aggressive behavior and territoriality in snakes. Chicago Acad. Sci. Nat. Hist. Misc. Publ. 66:1-13.
Stebbins, R. C. 1954. Amphibians and reptiles of western North America. McGraw-Hill, New York. 536pp.

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