Mojave River through the Victorville Narrows

The Mojave River flows mostly underground, through loose sediment, except during occasional flash floods during the wettest days of winter. This is probably a good thing since it would otherwise disappear due to rapid evaporation in the dry desert environment.

But in Victorville, CA, a plug of impermeable rock gets in the way and forces the underground river to the surface. So the river appears out of nowhere, flows above ground for a few miles, then disappears back into the sand. This happens twice (the upper Narrows and the lower Narrows); this page only shows the upper Narrows, between Victorville and Apple Valley.

It's not obvious how to see this phenomenon and the books aren't much help, but if you're persistent enough you can find a pleasant trail (without trespassing on private property) which begins at a drainage ditch in a residential neighborhood. The trail may eventually go to the local school; it's labelled with numbered signposts, so somewhere there must exist a guidebook for the trail. We never found it. But we did find the place where the river appeared, which was the point of the exercise.

(The inspiration for the trip came from Geology Underfoot in Death Valley and Owens Valley by Robert P. Sharp.)

[ pict2577T.jpg ] [ pict2579T.jpg ] [ pict2582T.jpg ] [ pict2584T.jpg ]
[ pict2586T.jpg ] [ pict2587T.jpg ] [ pict2588T.jpg ] [ pict2590T.jpg ]
[ pict2593T.jpg ] [ pict2607T.jpg ] [ pict2609T.jpg ] [ pict2610T.jpg ]
[ pict2611T.jpg ] [ pict2613T.jpg ] [ pict2615T.jpg ] [ pict2618T.jpg ]

Southern California Geology Trips
Shallow Sky home
Mail Comments