California: Jawbone and Dove Springs Off-Highway Vehicle Riding Areas

Mojave, Calif.

California has several great places to ride an ATV, and the Jawbone and Dove Springs Off-Highway Vehicle Areas near the Southern California town of Mojave are two of them. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management manages both areas.

The Jawbone OHV area offers more than 7,000 acres of open-use public land you can ride. The BLM says Jawbone is also a great starting point to begin to explore the hundreds of miles of trail-riding opportunities in the region.

The OHV area offers cross-country riding as well as advanced technical routes. Outside the OHV area, riding is restricted to designated routes marked with brown trail markers.

Travel maps are available at the Ridgecrest Field Office, the Jawbone OHV Station or the California BLM website bookstore.

The Jawbone open area is located off State Highway 14, about 20 miles north of the intersection of State Highway 14 and 58 in the town of Mojave. It’s a left turn from State Highway 14 onto Jawbone Canyon Road when traveling from the south, and a right turn onto Jawbone Canyon Road when traveling from the north.

The Jawbone OHV Station is on State Highway 14 at Jawbone Canyon Road in Cantil, Calif., about 20 miles north of Mojave. The office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. The phone number is (760) 373-1146.

There are three vault toilets in the area. Food and fuel are available in the town of Mojave. The nearest medical facilities are in the cities of Ridgecrest and Lancaster.

Primitive camping is permitted in the entire OHV area and on surrounding public land. Within Jawbone Canyon itself, there are a number of excellent primitive camping sites and OHV staging/off-loading areas. Most of the sites in the OHV area are accessible by two-wheel drive vehicles with trailers.

The Dove Springs OHV Area encompasses more than 5,000 acres and features riding terrain that varies from a sandy bowl to steep hills.

Dove Springs is located off State Route 14, just north of Red Rock Canyon State Park, about 30 miles north of the intersection of State Routes 14 and 58 in the town of Mojave. The entrance to Dove Springs OHV area is on SC 94. Traveling from the south, make a left turn from SR 14 onto SC 94. Traveling from the north, make a right turn onto SC 94.

The entire OHV area and surrounding public lands are open to primitive camping. Within the Dove Springs area there are numerous camping and OHV staging/off-loading areas.

“Green sticker” OHV registration is mandatory in both Jawbone and Dove Springs for all vehicles that aren’t street legal. Visitors from outside California must have a valid permit/registration from an OHV program in their home state; otherwise a “non-resident OHV permit” for California can be purchased at the Jawbone OHV Station. Vehicles must also have legal headlights and taillights if they will be operated at night.

Riders should also be aware that the Mojave Desert is home to the desert tortoise, and collecting or harassing a desert tortoise is illegal.