Known locally as the Grand Canyon of the East Mojave for its dramatic geological formations, the Afton Canyon Natural Area/Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) is part of the Mojave Trails National Monument. The ACEC encompasses approximately 41,500 acres, of which about 23,600 acres are public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Barstow Field Office.
Afton Canyon is one of only three places where the Mojave River flows above ground year-round in the Mojave Desert. Its water has provided food and habitat for humans and wildlife since prehistoric times. The area is popular for birdwatching, hiking, hunting, vehicle touring, rockhounding, horseback riding, stargazing, photography, natural history study and camping.
- Know Before You Go
- Weather extremes, flash floods, and poisonous snakes are common hazards.
- Out of State OHV users must comply with all California rules and regulations, which are available at California OHV Page.
- Desert winds are frequent and strong.
- Plan ahead and be prepared. Have adequate food, water, supplies, emergency medical provisions and a satellite phone to call for help if needed.
- Food, fuel and most necessities are available in Baker and Barstow.
- Cellular phone service is not reliable in all locations.
- Practice Leave No Trace: pack it in—pack it out.
- Don’t disturb the diverse wildlife that call Afton Canyon home.
- Camping and Fees
The campground has 22 primitive campsites. Each site is equipped with a shade structure, parking area, table, fire pit, and grill. Camp sites are available on a firstcome basis for a fee of $6 per night, with a 14-day stay limit. Piped water is sometimes available, but campers are advised to bring their own water. Vault toilets are centrally located. Discharge of firearms within the campground is not permitted.
- Campfire Permits
Campfire permits are required and may be restricted in fire season. Fire danger is extreme during most of the year. Campfire permits can be obtained online at Campfire Permit - Ready for Wildfire.
- Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Use
This area provides access for staging OHV and 4x4 vehicle touring into the adjacent area of the Mojave Trails National Monument. This and other surrounding
limited use areas require vehicles to travel on designated routes. There is also street legal vehicle access into the Mojave National Preserve along the Mojave Road. Learn more about OHV use at https://www.blm.gov/barstow.
From Barstow, take Interstate 15 east for 35 miles. Take the Afton exit south. Drive south three miles on graded dirt road to parking area for the fully-developed Afton Campground. Visitor information is available at the campground and at all entrances into the area.