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 route to Joshua Tree with which I am most familiar, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.