Driving On State Route 247

Today we are driving on State Route 247 headed eastbound through Lucerne Valley on the way to Joshua Tree National Park. This is the portion of the road with which I am the most familar, but motorists can also travel north west on this stretch of road towards Barstow, California. Many people venture on the 10 freeway east of Yucaipa and Beaumont to get to Joshua Tree, but SR 247 is another way to get to this Joshua Tree. Actually, I prefer the drive down the SR 18 from Big Bear to Lucerne Valley, which is where motorists turn eastbound onto the 247 to continue the rest of the trip towards Joshua Tree National Park.

A markerOld Woman Springs Road -
Old Woman Springs Rd, California, USA
[get directions]

View from Old Woman Springs Road, which is also known as State Highway 247.
View from Old Woman Springs Road, which is also known as State Highway 247.

If you drive down Highway 18 from Big Bear to Lucern Valley on the trip to Joshua National Park, then State Highway 247 will take you the rest of the towards Twenty-nine Palms, which is where this national park is located.

The long stretch of desert highway before turning right on to California State Highway 247.
The long stretch of desert highway before turning right on to California State Highway 247.

This hub will give you an idea of the visual landscape of SR 247. This road is not part of the national high system, but it is part of the California highway system. It was surprising to discover that the SR 247 is not considered an official scenic highway here in California, especially considering the stunning views that can be spotted here. Some enthusiasts of SR 247 are pushing for it to be considered a scenic highway, so hopefully that will come to pass.

The video above illustrates the view on State Route 247 on the way to Joshua Tree National Park.

Mountains and clouds visible on the right-hand side of the road.
Mountains and clouds visible on the right-hand side of the road.
The mountains in the distance are clear, but the sand in the foreground is a bit blurry as we zoom by.
The mountains in the distance are clear, but the sand in the foreground is a bit blurry as we zoom by.

Roadtrip photography is a bit tricky because objects in the foreground appear quite blurry, while mountains in the distance are clear and crisp. However, these photos to illustrate the arid and sometimes lush landscape to be enjoyed driving down State Route 247, which is also known as Old Woman Springs Road. It obtained this name from Old Woman Springs Ranch, which was located near small streams where Native American women were spotted doing their washing and cooking.

The Lucerne Valley is slightly arid, but has chaparral  and creosote brush as well.
The Lucerne Valley is slightly arid, but has chaparral and creosote brush as well.
Mountains are visible to the north of SR 247.
Mountains are visible to the north of SR 247.
Another view of the landscape to the north of Old Woman Springs Road.
Another view of the landscape to the north of Old Woman Springs Road.
Small buildings dot the landscape, but there are more than when we used to drive on this road back in the late 1980s.
Small buildings dot the landscape, but there are more than when we used to drive on this road back in the late 1980s.

Many little buildings dot the desert landscape, but there are more of these than back in the 1980s when we traveled out here on camping trips in the area of Rattle Snake Canyon. Dirt roads such as Rattle Snake Canyon Road still veer off from the paved Old Woman Springs Road, which are places for people who enjoy spending time in nature.

As a kid I remember off-road trips up to Rattle Snake Canyon and camping near some abandoned mines. Yes, rattle snakes sometimes are hiding in the bushes in this part of the desert, hence the name of the canyon. Also, I recollect spotting groups cattle and a few salt lick blocks left out for them. However, my main concern is always the abundance of snakes in the Mojave Desert and nearby mountains, so people should always be aware of their surroundings when spending time in an isolated region such as this. This is true if you just stop off to the side of SR 247 to take a few picture or make a cell phone call. Also, cell phone reception is not very good with providers such at TMobile on this isolated stretch of road, which is something you might want to keep in mind if you were to get a flat tire and need to call for road side assistance.

A markerrattle snake road lucerne valley -
Rattlesnake Canyon Rd, Lucerne Valley, CA 92356, USA
[get directions]

The mountains have a brownish-tan tinge.
The mountains have a brownish-tan tinge.
The brush in the foreground is a blur as the car whooses by, while the mountains in the distance are clear and crisp against the blue sky.
The brush in the foreground is a blur as the car whooses by, while the mountains in the distance are clear and crisp against the blue sky.
Boulders dot the hills in the distance with creosote brush in the foreground.
Boulders dot the hills in the distance with creosote brush in the foreground.
Green shrubs dot the sides of the road, and the  sky is ever blue
Green shrubs dot the sides of the road, and the sky is ever blue
Large tan colored boulders and the vast expanse of desert in the distance.
Large tan colored boulders and the vast expanse of desert in the distance.
A view from a stop along Old Woman Springs Road. Clouds are floating above the mountains in the distance.
A view from a stop along Old Woman Springs Road. Clouds are floating above the mountains in the distance.
Creosote and chaparral brush grows through the Lucerne Valley and the  Johnson Valley, which Old Woman Springs Road runs through.
Creosote and chaparral brush grows through the Lucerne Valley and the Johnson Valley, which Old Woman Springs Road runs through.
There are many bends along this stretch of road.
There are many bends along this stretch of road.
Other parts of the road slope downward.
Other parts of the road slope downward.
The old fashion wooden utility poles run along this stretch of road.
The old fashion wooden utility poles run along this stretch of road.

Old Woman Springs Road is a scenic trip for day travel, but just be aware when driving on this stretch of road at night. I was astounded at the number of people breaking the speed limit, and passing us to get to whatever destination they needed to arrive at in the darkness of night. I have long believed that people need to slow down and not break the speed limit for the safety of all, but perhaps some just think it is okay to speed along isolated stretches of desert road. However, it is not okay, and the crosses that dot this stretch of road should be a reminder of this.

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7 comments

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 9 months ago from US

Hope it will pass to become a scenic highway, SR 247.


DDE 9 months ago

Beautiful photos! I like the tour.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 9 months ago from Southern California, USA Author

I hope Sr 247 becomes a scenic highway as well. There is talk of putting up a two mile wide solar panel electric project out here, which would mar the pristine beauty of this location. There are already a few out in the desert, and this road attaining landmark status might prevent that.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 9 months ago from US

Very good for driving when you are bored as well.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 9 months ago from Southern California, USA Author

Yes, many people here in Southern California make daytrips out to Joshua Tree, and I think taking SR 247 is the more scenic route.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 months ago from England

I love the name of the roads! rattlesnake road, eek! what beautiful photos!


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 2 months ago from Southern California, USA Author

Yes, we definitely have many rattle snakes here in Southern California, especially in the desert where this road and canyon is located. Even in the more temperate valley there are snakes. I remember one day in college walking to dinner and a rattle snake slithered really close to me, and some girl just said nonchalantly "oh it got close to you". It made me wonder: would she have said the same thing so casually if it had bitten someone.

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