Friday, April 19, 2019

Carrizo Plain National Monument

  The enclosed basin of Carrizo Plain is about 50 miles long and 15 miles wide. Drainage from the mountains flows into Soda Lake which is dry most of the year. The monument is undeveloped with a few historic sites under preservation.

   Soda Lake Road, which travels north to south, is 45 miles long, paved at both ends with gravel in the middle section. Hundreds of miles of high clearance and 4X4 roads access remote areas. Fill your gas tank before venturing into the park. For visitors without a high clearance vehicle or the ability to hike on rough terrain this is a drive through park.There are very few opportunities to park along Soda Lake Road and explore because the handful of parking lots are small and the road does not have shoulders. We did not want to drive the 20 miles of unpaved road so we did the southern section and the northern section on separate days.
    Our main reason for visiting was to see the wildflowers but we were a little late and the flowers on the hills had faded. They were still pretty nice at the north end outside the monument along eastbound Route 58.
  At the southern end you can get a good view of the San Andreas Fault.

   The monument has two primitive campgrounds. We stayed at Selby Campground which has about a dozen sites with camping  allowed along the edges if the sites are filled. There are shade covers over the tables, fire rings and vault toilets. The sites are close together with no privacy but the view of the plain is nice. The road in is five miles of washboard.
   Very little is accessible. The Goodwin Education center was not open during out visit but I believe it is accessible. All of the campground tables have extended tops and the ground is hardpacked. None of the short interpretive trails are accessible. We walked/rolled on the Soda Lake Boardwalk which has a rough sandy path to access it then a step up to get onto the boardwalk.  Monument  35.26318, -119.93344



  1. I always forget to comment, but while I'm thinking of it, I want to say we really enjoy reading your blog and viewing the images! Our big atlas gets a real workout as we try to follow your odyssey. We've stayed at least a couple of places we had never known about (and driven right past) thanks to your descriptions. Thanks for taking us on a tour of America!

    1. Thanks for commenting! I'm so glad you're enjoying the blog and finding it helpful!

  2. We enjoy your blog and photos, too! And, you're providing valuable information RE accessible sites and places. We've not been to Carrizo Plain, and we don't have a high clearance vehicle (Smartie doesn't qualify :-) -- but the wildflowers and those wonderful green hills that you saw make the drive and the road look worthwhile.

    1. Yes, definitely worth the drive especially with the spring flowers and the green hills.