Desert Tortoise  LbNA # 45001

Placed DateNov 29 2008
CountySan Bernardino
LocationBarstow, CA
Found By ibjammann
Last Found Apr 10 2011
Hike Distance?

11/25/2011 Status: The good news is, this box is still in place. The bad news is... it's really in place. The rocks have shifted in such a way that the box is wedged very firmly in place and couldn't be removed. It's possible an intrepid letterboxer with the right tools might be able to get it loose, but no promises. In any case, it's still a nice, fairly easy hike, and if you continue just a little bit beyond where the box is hidden, you will find a cave on the right just waiting to be explored.

From Irwin Road, turn west onto Fossil Bed Road. This is a dirt road-- so make sure you take an appropriate vehicle. You'll soon pass a sign on your right that says:

Desert Tortoises are protected by law. Do not remove, handle or otherwise disturb them.

But don't worry-- the same rules don't apply to Desert Tortoise letterboxes. Turn right when you see the sign for Rainbow Basin/Owl Canyon, and turn right again at the sign for Owl Canyon Campground. Drive straight through the campground to the northern end, where you'll see the sign for the Owl Canyon Hiking Trail, and park your car.

Head down the trail into the wash and follow it northeast. It will curve left and then right, and you'll pass by a stone finger pointing up at a three-trunked yucca. Continue onward; after a while, you'll pass a pink boulder about 3 feet tall, with a smaller green rock behind it. Keep going, and when you reach a fork in the path, go left. Further down the trail, you'll come to an "island" in the middle of the wash that's easier to go up and over than around, and shortly after, you'll pass a place where a large chunk of the cliff has broken off on the right.

Finally, you'll come to a place where multiple pieces of cliff have broken off and are blocking the trail, essentially ending it. Two of these cliff pieces are near mirror images of each other; they look something like this: / Climb up above these two on the right. Standing here, look to the left. Here, wedged between two more pieces of cliff and covered with several large pink rocks, is the Desert Tortoise letterbox.

Please be discreet and re-hide well. Most of all, be careful! This is the desert, so beware of extreme heat, flash floods, wild animals and other dangers. The hike is 1-2 miles round trip. After you get back to your car, take a drive through the scenic trail at Rainbow Basin.