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Rainbow Basin Natural Area, Barstow

Categories: Wildlife Areas, Nature & Parks
Inspirock Rating:
4.5/5 based on 75+ reviews on the web
Rainbow Basin is a geological formation in the Calico Peaks range, located approximately north of Barstow in the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County, California.The Rainbow Basin has been designated a National Natural Landmark and is in the Bureau of Land Management managed Rainbow Basin Natural Area. Rainbow Basin is a mixture of private and public land, but it is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. It is accessible to the public via Irwin Road from Barstow to an unpaved loop road through the colorful basin.The basin is notable for: the fantastic and beautiful shapes of its rock formations: its fossil beds, which have provided scientists with valuable information about life during the middle Miocene epoch, between 12 and 16 million years ago; and to the northeast the Calico Early Man Site.
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  • Visited based on other TA reviews and so glad we did! Every twist and turn brought incredible new sights. Road is bumpy and narrow in spaces, but our little rental car handled it just fine. Definitely...  read more »
  • thank you TA for finding this. i never would have ever known about it. there is a driving loop, but i am thinking on a quiet day it might be more fun to walk it. the own canyon trail is OK too but the...  read more »
  • Worth the ride on the Irwinroad. Great, wide landscape, beautiful views. But also not the correct Verzücken in the color noise wanted to adapt despite sunset. There are reddish, whitish, bluish question to see color differences on the mountains, but rather unspectacular in this area anyway rich in colors and contrasts. Also ride on the dirt FossileBedroad to the viewpoint brought there no remedy, but was only an unnecessary shaking ordeal for our motor home as a nasty corrugated slope despite annoying slow ride. Conclusion: it is there, stress-free only the Irwin long. More than to see here, there's not. Have we hit the extra, we would have annoyed us.
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  • Beautiful place. Love the colors and formations. Geology is wonderful. Enjoyed the scenic drives as the valley walls get closer and closer as your car wanders through the basin. The road Is nicely graded that goes through a wash. Very epic, scenic panoramic views. Highly recommend spring, fall or winter times to visit as it can get hot!! We went in February, Not too far of a drive from Barstow or on the dirt road. We also hiked among the Mojave desert vegetation and enjoyed the Joshua trees. Think we got a glimpse of the lakebed with Goldstone. Great picture taking opportunities!
  • One of the best desert day trips in lot's to see & do in the park and serrounding area's. I have been to this park dozens of times and brought many friends to Rainbow basin and owl canyon. I highly recommend a trip here.
  • A gem in the Southern California area of the Mojave desert
  • Amazing landscape.
  • Amazing geology here. The classic photo of a syncline, found in multiple geology texts was taken here. Truly amazing by moonlight. Nearby Owl Canyon has an entire chapter of GEOLOGY UNDERFOOT IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, guiding the hiker through various rock formations. Camping is available at Owl Canyon.
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