Rock Springs is a short, historic trail in the Mojave National Preserve. This one-mile loop trail is located about 11 miles down Cedar Canyon Road (the dirt road through the center of the park). When we were there, the road was in excellent condition for a 2WD car. I can’t imagine that is always the case, so make sure to check before you commit to it if you do not have a high clearance car. This trail helps visitors to see the historical human side of this 1.6 million acre park, here is the info.
- 1 mile long
- 200 feet of elevation gain
- Lots of exploring to do
- I wrote this in 2017
When you arrive, you will feel like you have left California and are now in the Australian Outback, it is green in some areas but overall has a terrain that is much like the plains.
From the parking area, you can see the old stone house that is the start of the trail.
This stone house was built in the 1920s for a war veteran that had suffered from poison gas attacks in the war. Even though he was only supposed to live for a couple of years, he ended up staying in this house for over 30.
You cannot enter the house, but feel free to walk around it and admire the shape it is still in.
From here, you will start the trail and head down the hillside along a gradual descent. There are a lot of unique plants that you can see, especially if the wildflowers are in bloom.
About halfway down, you will also see the remains of some old mining claims as well. While there is not much to see, they are still a point of interest on this hike.
As you get closer to the bottom, you will make your way through a couple of canyon-like areas before emptying into the dry creek bed below.
This is also where the stream is located, and even in the California drought, there was still some stagnant, gross water in this area that was feed from deep below.
The creek bed is a fun area to explore, and I can imagine it being fun for bouldering and climbing on the big granite cliffs.
Back on the trail, you will head past a sign and a plaque dedicated to the army base that used to be here. It states that out of the 75 people who served, 25 defected, I am guessing due to the remoteness and lack of water out here.
The trail continues up at a gradual incline now for the next third of a mile. As it continues to go up, you will get excellent views of the dry creek bed and the crazy mountains all around you. My favorite being the spire-like mountain right in front.
The trail continues like this before it ends back at the rock house. You can take as little or as much time as you would like to complete the hike.
While this was a nice trail with some unique history, it is out-of-the-way from most places in the park, and with so many good hikes available, I feel like your time may be better served somewhere like the Kelso Dunes or Rings Trail. If you do the hike, let me know what you thought of it in the comments.