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Rainbow Basin Natural Area, Barstow

(4.5/5 based on 85+ 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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Wonderful geographic area. Unusual rock formations and color combinations. One can drive thru the area as well as explore on foot  more »
  • This was an exciting, unexpected spur of the moment day trip that we took our two boys to explore. This place was full of different kinds of rock and sediment that ranged in color that had us in so mu...  more »
  • We were on our way to New Orleans and pulling our trailer. This was our first over night stop. The road in to truly bumpy but we got there with no problem. Campsites have BBQ, fir pit and covered tabl...  more »
Google
  • 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 so.cal. 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.
  • 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.
  • A gem in the Southern California area of the Mojave desert