Rainbow Basin

Rainbow Basin is a small park near Barstow, CA where the Barstow Syncline is exposed.

The rocks are highly varied, everything from volcanics (red rhyolite breccia and white tuff) to shale to feldspar and quartz fragments to bright green clay.

There's a lovely single-lane dirt road (quite smooth, fine for passenger cars at least in dry weather) which winds slowly through some of the best terrain, finally passing a parking area where a hike of a few hundred feet takes you to an overlook where you can see the Barstow syncline (and lots of other interesting warped rock).

Nearby Owl Canyon offers a campground and a hiking trail. We'd hiked Owl Canyon the first time we came here, and it's okay but not as interesting as the syncline area, so on this trip we hiked down into the syncline itself. That was much more interesting.

Later we drove down the Fossil Beds dirt road hoping to find ... well, fossil beds (there's supposed to be a place called Fossil Canyon which sounded intriguing). Unfortunately, lacking a map, we gave up after a while since none of the roads are labeled past the Rainbow Basin turn-off. On our way out of Barstow, we stopped at the BLM office to ask about Fossil Canyon. The attendant had never been there either and couldn't tell us anything about it. Oh, well.
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