Rugged desert landscape, vast open skies, and miles and OHV and hiking trails are just a stones throw from the major population centers of Antelope Valley. Jawbone Canyon is just north of Mojave on CA-14 and offers a playground for the outdoor enthusiasts. The OHV area is just over 8,000 acres with terrain ranging from open desert to single-track trails at altitude.

Getting and Staying There

If you’re coming from Mojave, make a left on Jawbone Canyon Road, then just keep driving until you find a good spot. The entire OHV area, plus surrounding public lands, are open to primitive camping (FIY: no bathrooms or other facilities and no RV hook-ups—you pack everything in and out). Campfires are allowed with a permit, which you can get from the Jawbone Station Visitors Center. Set up camp and then head out to explore.

Hit the Trails

Whether you want to cruise on flat trails, hit jumps, or make some big climbs, you’ll easily keep yourself occupied for a full day, if not more. Before your first visit, download a map of the area (or pick one up from the Visitors Center). From Jawbone, you can check out Alphie Canyon, Butterbredt Canyon, Dove Springs Canyon, Horse Canyon, and more. There are trails available for all skill levels, so please use common sense!

Food and Entertainment

Should you need any provisions for the weekend, or if you want to see some other people, swing by Jawbone Canyon Store, just off the highway. Their deli serves breakfast burritos, hot dogs, sandwiches, and more. The general store is stocked with necessities for camping, plus parts for dirt bikes if you need minor maintenance. They also have live music on the weekends and a beer garden (in the shade)!

Good to Know

Most areas suitable for camping can be accessed by two-wheel drive vehicles. Dirt bikes, 4x4s, and other vehicles that are not street legal require “green or red sticker” OHV registration. If you’re from outside California, a valid permit/registration from your home state will suffice.

Photos:
“Above Jawbone Canyon” by Curtis Palmer
“Dirtbike” by veddderman