California Travel Articles
Chimney Peak Back-Country Byway
The Bureau of Land Management initiated a byway program in 1989 in response to recommendations in the report from the President's Commission on American Outdoors. This program designates "back country byways" consisting of a system of low standard roads and trails that pass through areas of public lands having high scenic or public interest value. When the first byway was designated in 1989, Secretary of the Interior Manuel Lujan described these roads as "Adventure Routes" into some of America's last wide open spaces.
The best way to get to know a place is to get off the highway and travel the back roads where the true qualities of the area wait to be discovered. The Chimney Peak Back Country Byway has a unique character and beauty. It leads into a historic region and through unspoiled and undiscovered treasures of several newly designated wilderness areas (California Desert Protection Act of 1994). A back country byway is designed to awareness of their lands and resources. It's a great way to get to know this part of California.
A type II byway accommodates high clearance vehicles and is mostly made up of slow speed, narrow, secondary roads. The Chimney Peak Back Country Byway offers a unique opportunity to drive a seldom traveled route through the Southern Sierra Mountains. Along the way you may enjoy scenic views, picnicking, camping, hiking or simply traveling along the back country route.
This back country byway passes through more than 50,000 acres of wilderness in a transition zone between the Mojave Desert and the Sierra Nevadas. The predominant pinyon-juniper woodlands contain habitat for black bear, bobcat, mountain lion, and mule deer. The remoteness and solitude found in the area lends a feeling of the old west and provides a glimpse into a past era. Along this byway route are numerous examples of the diverse resources found on your public lands including wildlife habitat, livestock grazing, wilderness, cultural resources, and outdoor recreation opportunities.
About 95% of the area along this byway are public lands owned by all citizens of the United States of America. These public lands are for you to enjoy and to help take care of. Private property is also located along the byway in several places and visitors are asked to respect these private property rights.
The Chimney Peak Back Country Byway is most easily reached from State Hwy 178.
Canebrake Road ascends to Lamont Meadow and then, along with the Kennedy Meadows Road and the Long Valley Loop Road, circles around Chimney Peak and back to Lamont Meadow. This 38½ mile, type II back country byway is mostly made up of narrow, slow speed, secondary roads and is recommended for high clearance vehicles. A normal passenger car can usually travel the Chimney Peak Back Country Byway by using a little extra care in a few places. Parts of the road are washboard-like at times and some sections may be impassible in winter and early spring.
An interpretive brochure is available at the Kiosk located on Canebrake Road just off of Highway 178 or from the BLM office in Bakersfield.
The Chimney Peak Back Country Byway
was dedicated on June 8, 1996.
A passage through changing times
Note : Partial road closure from washout.
For more information contact:
Bureau of Land Management
Bakersfield Field Office
3801 Pegasus Drive
Bakersfield, California 93308