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The Bradshaw Trail

Location: Southeastern Riverside County, with a small segment in Imperial County. This east-west trail begins about 12 miles east of the community of North Shore near the Salton Sea State Recreation Area. Its eastern end is about 14 miles southwest of Blythe near the Colorado River.

Trail length: 70-mile graded road.


The first road across Riverside County to the Colorado River was blazed by William Bradshaw in 1862 as an overland stage route. Beginning in San Bernardino, the trail was used extensively between 1862 and 1877 to haul miners and other passengers to the gold fields at La Paz, Arizona (now Ehrenberg).

The Bradshaw Trail is now a 70-mile dirt road periodically graded by the Riverside County Transportation Department. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended due to stretches of soft sand.

The trail traverses mostly public landand offers spectacular views of the Chuckwalla Bench and the Orocopia, Chuckwalla and Mule Mountains.


From Indio, take State Highway 111 east about 23 miles to the Salton Sea State Recreation Area. Across from Park Headquarters is Parkview Drive. Turn left on Parkview Drive for about 1.7 miles, then left on Desert Aire for about 0.5 miles to the canal road. Follow the canal road for about 10 miles to Drop 24 and the beginning of the Bradshaw Trail. -Or from Blythe, take Interstate 10 west for about 17 miles to the Wiley's Well exit. Go south (left) on Wiley's Well Road for about 9 miles to its intersection with the Bradshaw Trail, just past Wiley's Well Campground. Turn right and proceed west towards Indio. Starting at the Bradshaw Trail's end near Ripley is not recommended due to its rerouting through and around agricultural fields on private land.

Permits, Fees, Limitations

All commercial activities require a land use or special recreation permit from the BLM. Primitive vehicular camping is allowed within 300 feet of the trail except in designated wilderness areas - several of those are nearby. Wilderness areas are closed to all motorized and mechanical vehicles, including bicycles. Fourteen-day camping limits apply on public lands.

Camping and Lodging

Wiley's Well Campground, a BLM facility, is located just north of the Bradshaw Trail at its intersection with Wiley's Well Road. The campground has individual campsites with picnic tables, shade ramadas and grills, but potable water is not supplied. Handicapped accessible restrooms are available in the campground. a fee is charged for overnight use.

Coon Hollow Campground, also a BLM facility, is located about three miles south of the Bradshaw Trail on Wiley's Well Road. A fee is required for overnight use. Facilities at this campground are the same as those at Wiley's Well.

Campgrounds can also be found at Lake Cahuilla (City of La Quinta), Joshua Tree National Park and Corn Springs (near Desert Center).

The cities of Indio and Blythe offer complete accommodations.

Food and Supplies

Food, supplies, and gasoline are available at Indio, Chiriaco Summit, Desert Center and Blythe.

First Aid

There is no first aid available located along the Bradshaw Trail. John F. Kennedy Hospital is located in Indio, and Palo Verde Community Hospital is located in Blythe.

Know before you go

The Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range borders a part of the Bradshaw Trail to the south. This is a live bombing range and posted as closed to public entry. DO NOT ENTER THE BOMBING RANGE. Summers can be extremely hot. Carry plenty of water and extra food. IF you are stranded, stay with your vehicle. Always tell someone your plans, and stick to your itinerary. Travel by four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended.

For more information, contact:
Bureau of Land Management
Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office
690 West Garnet Ave, P.O. Box 1260
North Palm Springs, CA 92258
Phone: (760) 251-4800
Fax: (760) 251-4899