The Afton Canyon Campground is a nice jumping off point for exploring both the Mojave Trails National Monument and The Mojave National Preserve. This location is also convenient to access, because it is only a short drive south of Interstate Highway 15 near Baker, California, which is a good place to stock up and fuel up for backcountry adventures in these parts. The dirt road from the highway to the campground is fairly smooth, but the road conditions can change dramatically after rainstorm because this area is prone to flash floods. Fortunately it does not rain too often in the Mojave Desert, so a higher than average ground clearance passenger car can do the trip and it is well worth it, because the scenic areas next to the Afton Canyon Campground definitely are intriguing to view.
The campground is situated in a desert lowland valley marshes next to the Mojave River and where there is water in the desert, there will be wildlife to view. An old steel railroad bridge over the river is right next to the campground, which offers some great landscape photo opportunities. A major railroad hub is located about an hour away in Barstow, so several freight trains roll over this bridge each day. The noise from the locomotives can be loud, but this is like music to the ears of old west railroad fans. No pedestrians are allowed on the bridge for safety's sake, so if children are in your party it will be best to warn them of the danger.
The best part is the Afton Canyon Campground happens to be a great place to set up a basecamp for exploring Afton Canyon, which is better known as the "Grand Canyon Of The Mojave." To get to Afton Canyon from the campground you definitely will need a high ground clearance 4x4, because the first challenge heading south is the Mojave River crossing underneath the railroad bridge. Wide tires with deep treads are also suggested, because the dirt road goes through deep loose sand pits well into Afton Canyon and this is not exactly the kind of place where you want to be stranded.
Surprisingly, the campground is fully developed with basic facilities and RV pads. Each campsite offers tent pads, fire rings and chargrills, which is a real plus. The sunset views are memorable, while the golden morning light brings out all the colors of this amazing desert landscape. By throwing in an old railroad bridge and a few freight trains each day, boredom will be a word that is seldom heard. Semi precious rock and gem collecting is a pastime in this area, which is always good fun for the entire family. These are all good reasons to keep the Afton Canyon Campground in mind when exploring this end of the vast Mojave Desert!
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