Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office

The Bradshaw Trail

Visitor Activities:   


View a map of the Bradshaw Trail and route access (pdf) 

location     Location:  Southeastern Riverside County, with a small segment in Imperial County.

This east-west trail begins about 12 miles east of the community of North Shore near the Salton Sea State Recreation Area.  Its eastern end is about 14 miles southwest of Blythe near the Colorado River.

fuler Trail length:  70-mile graded road.

pen-note Description and History:  The first road across Riverside County to the Colorado River was blazed by William Bradshaw in 1862 as an overland stage route.  Beginning in San Bernardino, the trail was used extensively between 1862 and 1877 to haul miners and other passengers to the gold fields at La Paz, Arizona (now Ehrenberg).

The Bradshaw Trail is now a 70-mile dirt road, periodically graded by the Riverside County Transportation Department.  Four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended due to stretches of soft sand.  The trail traverses mostly public land, and offers spectacular views of the Chuckwalla Bench and the Orocopia, Chuckwalla and Mule Mountains.

compass Directions:  From Blythe, take Interstate 10 west for about 17 miles to the Wiley's Well exit.  Go south (left) on Wiley's Well Road for about 9 miles to its intersection with the Bradshaw Trail, just past Wiley's Well Campground.  Turn right and proceed west towards Indio.

Starting at the Bradshaw Trail's end near Ripley is not recommended due to its rerouting through and around agricultural fields on private land.

checkmark Permits, Fees, Limitations:  All commercial activities require a land use or special recreation permit from the BLM.  Primitive vehicular camping is allowed within 300 feet of the trail, except in designated wilderness areas - several of those are nearby.  Wilderness areas are closed to all motorized and mechanical vehicles, including bicycles.  Fourteen-day camping limits apply on public lands.

wheelchair Accessibility:  See "Camping and Lodging."

camping Camping and Lodging:  Wiley's Well Campground, a BLM Long-Term Visitor Area (LTVA) facility, is located just north of the Bradshaw Trail at its intersection with Wiley's Well Road.  The campground has individual campsites with picnic tables, shade ramadas and grills, but potable water is not supplied.  Handicapped-accessible restrooms are available in the campground.  A fee is charged for overnight use.

Coon Hollow Campground, also a BLM Long-Term Visitor Area (LTVA) facility, is located about three miles south of the Bradshaw Trail on Wiley's Well Road.  A fee is required for overnight use.  Facilities at this campground are the same as those at Wiley's Well.

Campgrounds can also be found at Corn Springs Campground (a BLM Short-Term Visitor Area; take the Corn Springs exit off I-10 near Desert Center), Joshua Tree National Park, and at Lake Cahuilla (in the City of La Quinta).

The cities of Indio and Blythe offer complete accommodations.

coffee cup Food and Supplies:  Food, supplies, and gasoline are available at Indio, Chiriaco Summit and Blythe.

red cross First Aid:  There is no first aid available located along the Bradshaw Trail.  John F. Kennedy Hospital is located in Indio, and Palo Verde Community Hospital is located in Blythe.

note Know before you go:  The Chocolate Mountains Aerial Gunnery Range borders a part of the Bradshaw Trail to the south.  This is a live bombing range and posted as closed to public entry.  DO NOT ENTER THE BOMBING RANGE.

Summers can be extremely hot.  Carry plenty of water and extra food.  If you are stranded, stay with your vehicle.  Always tell someone your plans, and stick to your itinerary.

Cell phones may not work in many areas of the Bradshaw Trail.
Travel by four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended.

more info For more information, contact:
Bureau of Land Management
Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office
1201 Bird Center Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262
Phone: (760) 833-7100
Fax: (760) 833-7199

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