Tucked away in the Mojave Desert is Jawbone Canyon OHV Area. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the OHV area attracts many visitors throughout the year. With many miles of trails and steep inclines for technical climbing, off-roaders will have an adventure-filled visit. While OHV use is the primary draw, there are many other recreational opportunities at Jawbone Canyon such as hiking, wildlife viewing, hunting, and camping.
Located in the high desert, the climate can be harsh at times. High temperatures in the summer often exceed 100 degrees while winter lows can drop temperatures to below freezing. Despite the desert climate, many types of wildlife thrive in Jawbone Canyon’s landscape with steep hills and mountains. Coyotes and deer roam through the area along with the desert tortoise. Rabbits, quail, and chukar are commonly seen by visitors.
Many visitors, especially those with OHVs, will want to make the most of their visit. Why not stay at one of the many primitive campsites that this BLM property has to offer? Make the most of your day by hitting the trails right from your campsite in the morning. The campsites are dispersed throughout the staging area as well as the road leading to Jawbone Canyon. Come prepared as there are no amenities at these primitive campsites.
Jawbone Canyon OHV Area is in the western Mojave Desert in Kern County, California. About 20 miles north of the community of Mojave, the OHV area is easy to reach. It’s located on Jawbone Canyon Road, just off of State Highway 14.
The roads within the OHV Area are gravel and dirt. Though bumpy, the roads leading to the staging areas and campsites do not require four-wheel-drive to access. Two-wheel-drive vehicles, RVs, and trailers can reach the staging area but may need to use extra caution. Visitors can check with the BLM office for information regarding road conditions.
It’s always wise to pack plenty of water, food, and other necessary supplies when heading out to a primitive location. Any forgotten supplies can be picked up in Mojave or even at Jawbone Store which is located on Highway 14 just outside of the OHV area.
Camping is permitted at Jawbone Canyon OHV Area. It is a BLM property, so overnight stays are limited to 14 consecutive days. Those planning to camp can set up at a site off of the road leading to Jawbone Canyon or within the staging area. Many of the sites are accessible to two-wheel-drive vehicles, including those with trailers in tow or RVs. All campsites at Jawbone Canyon OHV Area are dirt, so expect your rig to get dusty!
There are no amenities available to campers except for pit toilets located near the OHV staging area. There is also no shade at Jawbone Canyon. Visitors should bring plenty of water and protection from the sun. Windy conditions aren’t uncommon in the area which brings gusts strong enough to jostle some RVs. If you plan to have a campfire to stay warm or cook, you'll need to obtain a required campfire permit prior to your stay. The entire OHV area is pet-friendly and your pets will love exploring the terrain with you. Expect noise from OHVs during your stay, especially if visiting over a weekend.
Off-roading is certainly the number one attraction for visitors to Jawbone Canyon. Whether you’re in a jeep or another off-highway vehicle, you’ll have a blast riding through the desert landscape. Head down one of the many trails or if looking for a challenge, ride to the hills for technical hill climbing.
A green or red sticker permit is required for off-highway vehicles or a valid registration for out of state visitors. If a valid registration is not presented, you can purchase a sticker at Jawbone Station as you enter the area. Don’t have an OHV? Local businesses near Jawbone Canyon offer rentals.
There are many spots to explore on foot, whether you hike up to the top of one of the many steep hills or find an easier route to explore. Schmidt Tunnel is popular with hikers.
The tunnel is about 2000 feet long and runs from one side of Copper Mountain to the other. It’s a unique experience wandering through the narrow passage. No matter the trail you choose to take, you’ll enjoy beautiful desert scenery and may even see some of the area’s wildlife. Keep an eye out for OHVs that may be passing by!
Mountain biking is a great way to explore the rugged trails that Jawbone Canyon has to offer. You’ll find that there are routes of varying skill levels, making the visit fun for both beginners as well as those with advanced skills. Many miles of trails await which lead through desert vegetation and scenery. Keep an eye out for OHVs and hikers that may also be on the routes. Lather on the sunscreen, pack up plenty of water, and hit the trails!
As you explore the Jawbone Canyon OHV Area, there are many different types of wildlife that live in the desert landscape. The desert tortoise is a common sight at Jawbone Canyon. While they’re fun to watch, don’t touch or move the tortoises.
Those staying at one of the BLM campsites may hear the calls of coyotes during the night or early hours of the morning. This desert wilderness is also home to deer and many different types of birds.
Hunting season begins in the fall and brings hunters to the area in hopes of using their deer tags. Quail, chukar, and rabbits are also commonly hunted at Jawbone Canyon. Coyotes roam the land and patient hunters may get lucky in the early morning hours.
While hunting is permitted on BLM land, hunting regulations are enforced by the state. Ensure you’ve acquired any necessary California tags and permits before your hunting trip.
The Jawbone Store is located just outside of the OHV area off of Highway 14. You can find supplies, fuel, and even basic parts for your offroad vehicle. At the store, you can also grab a quick lunch, dinner, or relax in the beer garden after an afternoon of riding Jawbone’s terrain. It’s a great gathering spot for both campers and riders to socialize and swap stories about their adventures at Jawbone Canyon.