Trip Planner:   USA  /  California  /  California Desert  /  Barstow  /  Wildlife Areas  /  Rainbow Basin Natural Area
Rainbow Basin Natural Area, Barstow
(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.
Plan to visit Rainbow Basin Natural Area and other customer-reviewed, writer-recommended Barstow attractions using our Barstow vacation builder.
Source
Create a full Barstow itinerary
map

Plan your trip to Barstow

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans in Barstow by other users

30 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in United States BY A USER FROM SOUTH KOREA November, kids, popular PREFERENCES: November, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in California Desert BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, popular PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in California Desert BY A USER FROM PHILIPPINES April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 21 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, relaxing, beaches, museums, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, relaxing, beaches, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 20 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 20 days in California & Grand Canyon National Park BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS October, kids, hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 12 days in California Desert BY A USER FROM CANADA September, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 18 days in California Desert BY A USER FROM LUXEMBOURG September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in California Desert BY A USER FROM LUXEMBOURG September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Barstow BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Barstow BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans
Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Very nice track 8 miles north of Barstow on a loop of 5 miles to discover the Mojave desert, with rocks of many beautiful colors. Perfectly accessible with a car (not 4 x 4) sedan in the summer because the track is dry, if you roll gently.
    View original
  • Decided to take the kids through Rainbow Basin Natural Area at the spur of the moment. It's well worth the little detour off the Interstate, especially if you're a rock hound and enjoy geology. We did...  more »
  • 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...  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