Area Information for Bickel Camp
National Weather Service forecast for the area with China Lake current conditions
Intellicast Weather Radar
Travel Links and Maps
BLM Area Map - Bickel Camp is located at the yellow star. Map is c/o Friends of Jawbone Canyon
Hand drawn Map - note the tunnels and shafts, be careful!
09/04 Death Valley flashflood
12/04 Bonanza Canyon flashflood
Calif Dept of Transportation. Check highways 178, 395 and 14 in the map's lower right corner near Ridgecrest.
Ridgecrest Area Links
Ridgecrest Daily Independent newspaper
View Larger Map
Travel in the Mojave Desert can be very dangerous and conditions can change quickly. The visitor to these areas should follow the "be prepared" motto of the Boy Scouts, and never venture out into offroad areas without water, a flashlight, extra food and clothing, sunscreen, etc. It is common for the desert to have great differences in temperature between days and nights. 40 to 50 degrees difference can cause hyper-, or hypothermia to the unsuspecting traveler. Freezing and sunstroke can occur in the same day! Always inform someone before your leaving of the general area of your destination and approximate time of return. Also check the current weather, and consider other options if rain is forecast. The force of a small amount of water can easily displace the ground, marooning you and your car or worse if you're in a canyon. People died in the 09/04 flash floods at Death Valley National Park, a link to the highway 190 damage is provided. Links on this page include the National Weather Service, with area forecasts, current temperatures, and satellite photos on their website.
The Bickel Camp site is accessible from either Harts Road off Highway 14 at the billboards, or the Mesquite Canyon Road off Garlock Road. The Harts Road is usually easiest to travel for non-4 wheel drive vehicles. A high clearance vehicle is recommended. A hand drawn map here shows that mining shafts are abundant in the area, and you are cautioned to never travel on unfamiliar roads in the area at night! Mining tunnels also exist nearby. Caution should be taken, and all driving should stay to existing roads. Ground cover can be easily undermined, and not apparent to the casual observer. After a rainfall the ground is saturated and can also easily shift - a newlywed prospector had an earthen bank he was digging under collapse and kill him not many years ago, shortly after a rainfall. Cellphone coverage in the El Paso's is marginal. Verizon works from only a few high areas, AT&T is rumored to work ok at Burro Schmidt's Tunnel. The Ridgecrest area has a hospital located in town, with Kern County Sherrif, and City Police offices, and the regional Bureau of Land Management office. The California Highway Patrol have an office Inyokern, at the junction of the Redrock Inyokern Road and Inyokern Road Highway 178. Poisonous snakes , such as the Mojave Green Rattlesnake, and Sidewinder, are also frequently seen in the desert. Watch where you put your feet and hands while hiking and climbing. During hot periods, snakes are seen under bushes and in burrows seeking shade. At night, reptiles are active hunting for food. Be aware of your surroundings. The California Desert Protection Act also marked large areas of land as restricted to travel - foot traffic is about impossible on hot days with no sources of water other than what you can carry.