Fossil Falls
Fossil Falls

Every year we take off the week of Thanksgiving to explore the deserts of Southern California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. This year, our trip took us through Death Valley, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, and Mojave National Preserve. Over the next week or so, I’ll be posting trip reports on specific parts of this trip since many of the things we did deserve their own entries.

The trip started relatively low-key, with an uneventful evening drive from the SF Bay Area to Fossil Falls, just north of Inyokern, CA and off of 395. Arriving a little before 10 pm, we were slightly concerned about finding an available campsite at the 11 site BLM campground, but our worries were unfounded – we were the only campers in the park. I am not as familiar with this southern end of 395 and wasn’t comfortable trying to find a campsite in the dark, so I was glad it all worked out.

We awoke in the morning to a lava moonscape. Just north of the campground is the Red Cinder cone which is a working cinder mine. To the west is the Southern Sierra and to the East, the Inyo mountains. We had our coffee and wandered over to the Fossil Falls, a dry fall formed from the lava flows and melting glaciers of time past. We wandered off the established trail and scrambled down to the base of the falls (not difficult, but also not trivial if you’re not used to scrambling around desert and lava formations), looking for the rumored rock art. After some exploring (unsuccessful at finding the rock art), we headed back to the campsite to head out for the rest of the day’s adventures.

Coming next: Cerro Gordo (a still-operating ghost town) and the remains of U2’s Joshua Tree.


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