The Mojave River Forks Regional Park is a quiet campground and day use area located near Hesperia, California. Located in the transition between the San Bernardino mountains and the Mojave Desert, the park offers sweeping vistas of mountain foothills and high desert, as well as of the West Fork of the Mojave River valley. The park offers access to miles of hiking and equestrian trails, as well as convenient access to the Pacific Crest Trail, OHV areas, Silverwood Lake and other area attractions.
We visited this park for two weeks in June, 2015. Our visit was later in the season than I would have preferred, as temperatures began the climb toward summertime highs. We did have several days of cooler temperatures, upper 70’s and low 80’s °F, even including a thunderstorm and rain showers, before temperatures climbed back into the upper 90’s and 100’s °F. Afternoons tended to be very windy, before calming shortly after sunset. Temperatures cooled off rapidly at sunset to very comfortable upper 60’s and low 70’s °F.
We had no difficulty obtaining reservations online for our stay of 14 days. At times, we were the only campers in the park.
We found the campground to be very clean and well maintained and the park staff competent and friendly.
Please note that the campground gates are locked for the night sometime in the late afternoon. The weekly padlock combination should be provided with the parking pass upon registration. If you are going to arrive late, be sure to call ahead or you may be locked out!
This park is administered by the Regional Parks County of San Bernardino. Maximum allowed stay is 14 days in any 30 day period. As a regional park, the nightly stay is somewhat pricey, with small extra fees applied. Given the length of our stay, we qualified for the weekly rate (~$26 per night), but were assessed an additional $1 per dog per day fee. See the Mojave River Forks Regional Park site for the current fee schedule.
Amenities On Site or Nearby
The Mojave River Forks Regional Park offers only very basic amenities; restrooms, water, showers, electric, garbage cans/bins, and sewer or dump stations.
Supplies & services – groceries, hardware, auto parts, gas, & restaurants are available in nearby Hesperia (9.5 miles). Be sure to check out the Vallarta Supermarket in Hesperia if you enjoy Hispanic food – quite an interesting variety.
Accessibility – 4/5
The Mojave River Forks Regional Park is easily accessible via highways CA-138 and CA-173. Both CA-138 and CA-173 highways are scenic two-lane roads with a number of sharp 15 mph or 20 mph curves. Note that CA-138 has a two-mile stretch of road that is extremely steep and curvy and includes several very tight hairpin curves. For larger rigs, a better route than CA-138 would be via Hesperia from Main Street to Arrowhead Lake Road to CA-173. Note that for this alternative route, there are several sharp dips on Arrowhead Lake Road requiring caution for long/low profile rigs to avoid dragging.
Roads through the park are well maintained asphalt and crushed gravel.
Facilities/Amenities – 3/5
The Mojave River Forks Regional Park offers only very basic facilities. The park provides concrete block restrooms with water, flush toilets and showers. Showers are free. Facilities are clean and well stocked, but are showing wear and could use repair or renovation. The park provides strategically located water hydrants, drinking fountains, and two dump stations. Each site has garbage cans and a few large trash bins are also available in the park. The park grounds are clean and well maintained.
Site quality – 4/5
Site quality was consistently good throughout the park. A variety of sites are available, including walk-in tent sites, large group sites, non-hookup tent or (small) RV sites, full-hookup RV sites, and equestrian sites. All the sites we saw included a picnic table, metal or concrete fire ring, and a barbecue grill. Site pads are level and surfaced with crushed gravel. Full-hookup sites included water, sewer and 30 amp electric.
Non-hookup sites are back-in. Full-hookup sites were a mix of back-in and pull-through sites. Some of the sites may present difficulties in maneuvering larger rigs due to positioning of posts, barbecue grills or other obstacles. The park can handle rigs up to 40 ft in length, but not all sites would accommodate that size.
Scenic Value – 3/5
As noted above, the park offers sweeping vistas of mountain foothills and high desert, as well as of the West Fork of the Mojave River valley.
Location/Isolation – 4/5
The park does have a feeling of remoteness and isolation. Highway CA-173 is not heavily traveled and sites are far enough from the road that there is very little road noise. During our stay, there were very few other campers in the park; indeed, at times we were the only visitors in the park. Adding to the isolation, park gates are locked at night and guests are provided with the padlock combination code of the week upon registration.
Paws Friendliness – 4/5
The park is pet friendly, but does impose an extra fee of $1 per dog per night. The park requires pets to be on a 6 ft leash, at all times. The roads of the park are long enough for a good walk, although the asphalt and crushed gravel is sharp and abrasive to paws over time. The park has a number of trails for longer walks. Other trails in the area would allow opportunity to go off-leash. Note that ground surfaces become extremely hot during the day in summer months – exercise caution to avoid burning Fido’s paws – evenings and mornings are much more pleasant.
(Bonus) Astronomy – 3/5
The park also offers opportunities for star gazers. The skies here are reasonably dark on a clear night, suitable for casual observing or even for imaging with an IDAS light pollution cut off filter. The park offers reasonably unobstructed horizons. There are few lights in the park – only at restrooms, park gatehouse and park headquarters building or from other campers. Unfortunately, any haze or cloud cover will glow with light pollution from the Inland Empire basin to the south and from Hesperia, Victorville, and Barstow to the north. Heavy marine layer clouds over the Inland Empire basin will mitigate sky-glow from that direction. Wind is a problem at times here.
Overall Rating – 4/5
Overall, we very much enjoyed our stay at this regional park and look forward to another visit (perhaps in the cooler fall or winter season). This is a small gem of a park and we highly recommend it.
The campground does not feature WiFi, but there is strong Verizon 4G signal for those connecting via MiFi hot spot. We do not have devices with other carriers to report on.
The water at the campground is good, but does test fairly hard. Given the hardness, we decided to hook up our water softener to our filtration stack. Note that this campground seems lightly used – as such, check the water before hooking your hose up. One tap may run clear, while the next may have discolored rusty looking water. Allow water to run for a short while to flush out and this should clear up.
Some attractions in the local area include Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area, Pacific Coast Trail, and Summit OHV Staging Area. Some areas are located in the San Bernardino National Forest and require an Adventure Pass to visit.
Another nearby area of scenic interest is the Cajon Pass and the Mormon Rocks. Interstate 15 runs through the center of scenic Cajon Pass, but most people seem to never give it more than a passing glance in their hurry to travel to/from the high desert, ‘Vegas, or points beyond. Exploring the side roads of the pass reveal many unexpected delights. Just the sight of long-long trains winding through surreal rock formations is like a model railroader’s dream. Take some time to slow down and enjoy the sights.
Until next time…