L.A. Dog Lover's Escapes

Lucerne Valley

Parks, Beaches, and Recreation Areas

If city life has your dog tied in knots, a visit to the Johnson Valley Open Area is bound to unkink him. There's nothing like 250,000 acres of leashless terrain—including mountains, scrubby desert, dry lakes, sand dunes, and rock formations—to take the "d" out of "doldrums" and put it back in "dog."

While you may not run into any other people during your visit, keep in mind that much of this land is okay for off-highway vehicles to cruise. If you hear one of these loud beasts coming, make sure your dog is close by. Some dog owners like to put something bright orange on their dog just in case. You'll also want to be aware that coyotes are not unheard of around here. Don't let your dog wander far from you.

There are many access points to this huge acreage. One good bet is to exit Highway 247 at Bessimer Mine Road and drive north a few miles. Big signs will show you the way. The public land here is interspersed with private land, but Bureau of Land Management folks say unless an area is fenced off, posted, or developed, it's probably okay for hiking. (760) 252-6000.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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