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.
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.
Wiley's Well Campground, a BLM 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 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 Lake Cahuilla (City of La Quinta), Joshua Tree National Park and Corn Springs (near Desert Center).
The Chocolate Mountain 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. Food, supplies, and gasoline are available at Indio, Chiriaco Summit, Desert Center and Blythe. The cities of Indio and Blythe offer complete accommodations.
Directions: From Blythe, CA, 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.
Distance: 70 miles
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California BLM Areas, Arizona
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