Although it feels fairly desolate with its desert terrain, Johnson Valley is close to nearby towns so that you can make a trip of your ATV off-roading adventure. The unincorporated community in San Bernardino County is bordered by mountains on one side and the high desert on the other, so you can explore both Big Bear and the Mojave. Check out how to spend a weekend off-roading in California’s Johnson Valley and the surrounding area.
Before you start your day of adventure, you must stop to check out Calico Ghost Town. This town is one of the few remaining in California, and not far from the Johnson Valley area. It can be a nice spot to stretch out your legs and relax before you hit the trails.
Before you hit the trails, fill your belly with a hearty meal at the Slash X Ranch Café. The Slash X Ranch is known for filling meals and also hosts events and fundraisers for off-roading enthusiasts. Open only on weekends for cold beer and hot food, Slash X is a decades-old family business known for their delicious chili cheese fries.
Johnson Valley is one of the best spots for off-roading in America and is local for much of Southern California. Johnson Valley hosts major off-roading events each year including the “King of the Hammer” competition. At the Johnson Valley community center, you can get maps of the off-roading area, which is very expansive and has welcomed families looking for off-roading adventures for years. You can camp at Johnson Valley, and millions of visitors do each year. Johnson Valley has a variety of terrain, from spots that resemble a rough lunar landscape and are rocky enough to rip metal off your vehicle, to canyons, washes, lakebeds and plenty of trails and offshoots.
After your day in the desert, head to the mountains. Big Bear isn’t far and is pretty easy to find after a day of exploring. Teddy Bear Restaurant is a home-style cash-only spot with a breakfast-all-day menu and a children’s menu. They’re open until 11 p.m. every day of the week.
Johnson Valley offers plenty of rural campgrounds, but if you want something a little more contemporary, then head up to the Lodge at Big Bear Lake. The rustic cabin set up has all the modern amenities and a prime location right on the edge of town. There’s even a sauna to soothe aching muscles after a long day on the trails.