Summary: So you're looking for something to do on the road to Vegas? May I suggest the Mad Greek in Baker? I put it on the map for you.
I was wondering why, when the ranger at the Mojave Preserve Information Center told me about the various hiking trails in the area, she didn't mention Zzyzyx. Zzyzyx, after all, is supposed to be the last word, the dream of a religious cultist of the 1940s. It was on the NPS map as a trail, so we had to go see.
Signs around the gigantic bathtub next to the Desert Studies Center tell the story of the Mojave Chub, the last of which species lives in this pond. You can't see any chub from the shores. You do have nice views of the Preserve to the east, including the Cowhole Mountains and the Devil's Playground. It's the scenery that saves the hike -- just barely. There are good hikes in the Preserve, but this is barely worth a picnic sandwich.
Drive on. Try Teutonia Peak instead. It's just up the road.
Trailhead: Finding the exit is easy enough. Zzyzyx Road is located between Barstow and the Nevada border along Interstate 15. Getting off will pose no problem. Just head south. That's right if you are coming from Barstow and left if you are coming from Las Vegas. You may find yourself pleased that the road is paved -- for the first mile. Then the pavement runs out. You will find yourself on a road that consists of rock blown out of the Soda Mountains by flash floods and winter rains. Go slowly. Take your time. You'll cover the last four miles in no time, say about half an hour to an hour unless you're one of those hellacious 4 wheel drivers who can't distinguish between a freeway and a dirt track. Pull over in the picnic area before the gate. The restrooms may be in working order and there's a hand pump (painted red) which may produce drinkable water. Or not. (Lat:35.14486 Lon:-116.10536)
Trail Guides for Zzyzyx, Mojave NPrsv:
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs, Bikes,
Ranger Contact: Mojave National Preserve, Baker Information Center (760)733-4040
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Joel Sax, who has posted 51 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by zero on 3/17/2011
I love this place. It has a creepy abandoned vibe to it, and there are plenty of old buildings for you to explore. It's beautiful and there are so many different animals and birds you can see here! Don't go in the water though - you'll smell for the rest of the week.
Reviewed by Squall on 10/23/2009
This place is neat, I love the Mojave.
Reviewed by cahikerchick on 11/14/2005
Zzyzx is a surreal place in the middle of the desert. I've gone there many times just for great photos. Previously a mineral spring with many, many buildings, it was taken over by the State in the 70's and is now the Desert Studies Center, a field station of the California State University (CSU). It is an oasis in the middle of the desert and many birds and wild life depend on the existing, natural water holes for life. After about 2.5 miles on the road you will start seeing cattails growing on the roadside...keep on going. Hikewise it's not much, but the uniqueness of the area bears a visit. Beware that it gets HOT in the summer.
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