Canyon of the Mojave
Water still flows most of
the year through this mini Grand Canyon. Her sheer
walls in every imaginable shade of pink tower 300 feet
above the Mojave Rive. Four major trails of varying
lengths take you past these varicolored cliffs and
through nooks and crannies visited long ago by Native
American people, Spanish missionaries and explorers, and
mountain men. This rare ribbon of greenery in a unique
geological setting also harbors an abundance of wildlife
Known as the "Grand Canyon
of the Mojave," Afton Canyon contains spectacular
scenery. Not only does the canyon exhibit beautiful
examples of wind and water erosion, but the colors in
the side walls look as if someone poured various shades
of red and green paint over them.
The canyon was formed
12,000 to 19,000 years ago when Lake Mannix drained. As
this huge lake drained, it cut the canyon nearly to its
present depth. Periodic floods continue this work.
There is always water in
Afton Canyon, and it is one of three places along the
Mojave River where there is year-round surface flow. The
presence of this water in Afton canyon is extremely
important for wildlife.
Afton Canyon is designated
as a watchable wildlife area and a visit can be
inspiring for avid wildlife enthusiasts. Bighorn sheep
live in the area and may be seen coming to the river to
drink. Various kids of raptors nest on the canyon walls.
If you camp at the campground, be prepared to share your
campsite with kangaroo rats and roadrunners.
Other popular activities
are rockhounding, hiking, photography, horseback
riding, and touring along the historic Mojave Road
which runs through the canyon.
Afton Canyon can be
reached by taking the Afton Road exit off Interstate 15
located 36 miles northeast of Barstow. Follow the graded
gravel road for three miles to the canyon.