The Newberry Mountains Wilderness is a 26,000-acre BLM property located south of the city of Barstow in California. The terrain of the wilderness is comprised of the dark volcanic peaks of the Newberry Mountains and wide, rock-strewn canyons where little vegetation grows other than a few scrub bushes that can survive the harsh desert climate. While the Newberry Wilderness is isolated, it's bordered by the I-40 to the north and the CA 247 to the west. The larger BLM lands of the Rodman Mountains Wilderness are situated to the south-east and the Ord Mountains due south.
The Newberry Mountains Wilderness doesn't offer much in the way of recreational activities. Hiking through the canyons is for hardened hikers and definitely not a stroll in the park as there are no defined trails to follow. There some opportunities for photographers to snap off some distinct shots of weathered rocks, desert-scapes, and the spartan plant life, but animal life apart from the odd reptile is hard to find. That doesn't mean there's not much to do around the wilderness, there is. Visit the Desert Discovery Center in Barstow, and there you can learn how to make the most of a trip to these arid BLM lands that form part of the extensive Mojave Desert region. Stargazers will enjoy touring the Goldstone Deep Space Network Visitor Center, and history buffs will have a field day exploring the city's diverse museum, including one dedicated to the famous Route 66.
There are no campgrounds in the Newberry Mountains Wilderness for RVs as only dispersed tent camping is allowed. There are several private campgrounds in the Barstow area as well as two developed campgrounds in the Mojave National Preserve, which is a two-hour drive from the wilderness.
The Newberry Mountains Wilderness can be reached via both the I-40 and the CA 247. If you've pitched camp and have a four by four, you can head toward the wilderness boundary along the Camp Rock Road just south of the small town of Dagget, which is east of Barstow on the I-40. All drivers should remember to respect the 30-foot parking distance from the boundary on unpaved roads before leaving their vehicle and setting out on foot.
Reach the wilderness boundary on the western side by taking the turn-off for Stoddart Valley Road on the CA 247 southbound, which later merges with the Cape Gloucester Avenue E and forms a loop returning to the CA 247. While the roadway may carry the name avenue, don't expect a broad asphalted and tree-lined highway. It is a winding unpaved road only negotiable in a four by four.
If you're heading to the Newberry Mountains Wilderness after RV camping in the Angeles National Forest and have decided to pitch camp in the Mojave National Preserve, after passing through Hesperia, expect to be on the I-15 northbound for around an hour and a half. Then you'll arrive at Baker and continuing into the preserve to your chosen campground. If you've been in the Sequoia National Forest, it'll take you around two and a half hours to get to Barstow then another hour to get as far as Baker before you can park up and pitch camp in the preserve.
There are two developed campgrounds suitable for RVs in the Mojave National Reserve. Both are approximately a two-hour drive from the Newberry Mountains Wilderness. The Mid Hills Campground and the Hole-In-The-Wall Campground offer primitive camping without utility hook-ups or dump stations.
Mid Hills has 26 campsites, and the Hole-In-The-Wall has 35, all of which are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis all year round. Campsites at both campgrounds are furnished with grills and picnic tables though on-site amenities are minimal and limited to pit toilets.
If you don't want to set up camp a two-hour drive away from the Newberry Mountains Wilderness, consider parking your RV at the Stoddard Valley OHV Area.
You don't have to worry about having enough space or finding an actual campsite here. There are no defined campsites, but camping is permitted anywhere within the sprawling 50,000-acre area. The only caveat is that parked vehicles cannot block any roadways. The camping is totally primitive, with no utilities and no amenities.
You'll find there are some great options for scenic driving if you're planning on visiting the Newberry Mountains Wilderness. To see the wilderness itself, take a trip down the CA 247, and you'll pass by its western edge.
While you're in the region, you won't want to miss journeying along the famous Route 66, which you can join in Barstow. Go south towards Victorville on what is now called the National Trail Highway. You'll pass by such strange and wonderful things as Elmer's Bottle Ranch and the Antique Station, a dilapidated old building full of antique treasures. Don't forget to take your camera.
To find out more about the historic route, plan a visit to the Route 66 Mother Road Museum in Barstow. The museum is located in Harvey House, a converted hotel and railway station, which is also home to two other museums.
In the Route 66 museum, you'll find an extensive collection of photographs, signs, and artifacts all relating to the famous road.
Learn more about the environment of the Mojave Desert with a tour around the Desert Discovery Center in Barstow. The center, dedicated to educating visitors about the desert, sits in 12 acres of grounds with a secret garden, artworks, and resident tortoises.
On display in the center is one of the biggest meteorites ever discovered in the US, the Old Woman Meteorite. Weighing in at over 6,000 pounds, it's a rock from outer space that is well worth seeing.
One thing the Newberry Mountains Wilderness is not short of is rocks, and some of them are much prettier and more collectible than others. The entire Mojave Desert region is mineral-rich, and the wilderness is no different.
Keep your eye to the ground, and you could come across many different types of agate, onyx, and jasper as well as crystal-filled geodes if your rockhounding luck holds.
Vehicles of any kind are not permitted in the Newberry Mountains Wilderness. Luckily, if you've hooked up your trailer and have your OHV with you, you can get in some off-roading at the nearby Stoddard Valley OHV Area.
The 50,000-acre OHV area is a 15-minute drive south of Barstow off the I-15. It's off-roading heaven for both novice and experienced riders. The protected desert tortoise inhabits the area, so if you see one when out on your ATV, make sure you steer around it and leave it untouched.
If you're interested in discovering more about life in the Mojave Desert, visit the Mojave River Valley Museum in Barstow.
The museum has diverse and informative exhibitions on several different Native American tribes and the arrival of the first settlers in the late nineteenth century. It also explores the effects of the mining and railroad industries to the area and has extensive newspaper and photographic archives.