Bonanza Trail Loop

The Jawbone Canyon Area (centered along Jawbone Canyon Rd. in Eastern Kern County) is a geologically diverse region in California’s Western Mojave Desert. Jawbone Canyon is the gateway to miles of 4×4 and hiking trails located on public lands and is home to many OHV trails and a couple of OHV Open Areas.

In addition to the Jawbone Canyon Loop, the Bonanza Trail Loop is another popular route that takes riders near many interesting discovery points.

The loop begins at Harts Place, (GPS: N35.5005, W117.9486) a remote roadside gas station, cafe, store and garage on State Route 14 until the late 1960s.

Traveling southeast along EP15 will lead riders to the Holly Ash/Calsilco Mines, (GPS N35.4483, W117.898). These mines were excavated for their pumice, used in many household products and cleaners like Holly Cleanser, from which the mines derive one of their names. They were operated by the Calsilco Corporation starting in 1946, giving the mines their second name.

Nearby is Bickel Camp, (GPS: N35.4361, W117.8867). This depression era mining camp was founded by Walt Bickel in 1934. Walt mined placer gold in the area using unique tools and methods he experimented with and perfected. He kept busy studying astronomy, edible plants, geology, and the archaeology of this fascinating area in the El Paso Mountains. He wasn’t often lonely, with over 40 cats for company and “to keep them rodents down!”

Continuing along EP15 and south onto EP103 brings riders to Burro Schmidt’s Tunnel, (GPS: N35.4116, W117.8741). William Henry “Burro” Schmidt was frail and small of stature, yet he prospected around Kern County and established claims in the El Paso Mountains. In 1900, he began to dig, drill, and blast his way through the interior of the mountain. In 1938, after 38 years of exhaustive mining, daylight was finally visible through the far side of the tunnel. Those with a sense of adventure can still walk through the tunnel, though a flashlight is required, and it’s important to stay mindful of low spots within.

The trail leads out to Red Rock Randsburg Road at Garlock via EP100.

You can find this route in sections I-9, I-10, H-9, H-10, G-9, and G-10, with the Jawbone Canyon OHV Map.

Jawbone Canyon, CA
Jawbone Canyon, CA
1:02 am, Jul 10, 2024
temperature icon 79°F
clear sky
Humidity 22 %
Pressure 1010 mb
Wind 7 mph
Wind Gust Wind Gust: 6 mph
Clouds Clouds: 0%
Visibility Visibility: 0 mi
Sunrise Sunrise: 5:47 am
Sunset Sunset: 8:08 pm

Dedicated to Ed Waldheim

Man standing next to dirt bike

Founder of the Friends of Jawbone (FOJ)

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