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250 Miles of Washboard - Bradshaw Trail

For a couple of years now - ever since I read a trip report from Mike @mk5 - I've wanted to drive the Bradshaw Trail. Located in the southern California region of the Sonoran Desert, it traverses some 85 miles of desert - from the Salton Sea to the Colorado River and the La Paz region of Arizona.

The Bradshaw Trail itself though, isn't the highlight of and adventure like this. In fact, the original route that those seeking gold in La Paz travelled is - today - a wide gravel road. Sometimes* well graded, it purposefully picks follows the most boring route through the desert possible - after all, if you were doing this in a wagon train, you'd do the same thing!

Rather, much like the Mojave Road to the north, a series of side roads, side trips, and loops, provide the intrigue and excitement on this trip. On them, mosaics of colorful geology, blooming cactus, and historical sites abound. Not to mention the solitude - this area seemed even more remote than Death Valley or the far reaches of the Mojave Preserve. For the desert lover, there is certainly plenty to get excited about!

 

* Sometimes not. The entire Bradshaw Trail - and most of the side trips - was a complete mess when I visited. All washboard, it was the kind of trail where - even at speed, you're sitting in the truck feeling your bones bouncing off each other, knowing that the welds on your truck can only take so much. The culprits of course are the UTVs. With short wheelbases, and too much skinny pedal, they really tear up the roads in the area.

 

The Salt Creek Route - Bradshaw #1 The Salt Creek Route - Bradshaw Trail #1 - For a couple of years now - ever since I read a trip report from Mike @mk5 - I've wanted to drive the Bradshaw Trail. Located in the southern California region of the Sonoran Desert, it traverses some 85 miles of desert - from the Salton Sea to the Colorado…
Across the Chuckwalla Bench - Bradshaw #2 Across the Chuckwalla Bench - Bradshaw Trail #2 - It was a little after 2:15pm when I veered away from the first stage of the Bradshaw Trail that follows Salt Creek Wash and across the Chuckwalla Bench. This is where Bradshaw's Trail first ventured into unknown territory. Previous expeditions having carried on to the northeast - through the pass…
Through the Mule Mountains - Bradshaw Trail #3 Through the Mule Mountains - Bradshaw Trail #3 - As I transitioned from the middle segment of the Bradshaw Trail that'd ferried me across the Chuckwalla Bench, I was very much looking forward to the final - and shortest - segment of the journey. It was already quarter-to-five in the afternoon, so I only had a couple hours of…
Corn Spring and Desert Center - (Venturing Off the) Bradshaw Trail #4 Corn Spring and Desert Center - (Venturing Off the) Bradshaw Trail #4 - Right smack in the middle of my Bradshaw Trail adventure, I was presented with an option - travel the trail as outlined in my guidebook - Gold Road to La Paz, an Interpretive Guide to the Bradshaw Trail - or take a 75 mile detour north over Graham Pass to…

 

 

 

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