We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Rainbow Basin Natural Area

Address: Fossil Bed Road, 8 Miles North, Barstow, CA 92311
Improve this listing
93%
Ranked #3 of 14 things to do in Barstow
Type: Nature & wildlife areas, Nature & Parks
Activities: Hiking
Owner description: This scenic desert area is good for hiking and other outdoor activities.
Attraction details
Type: Nature & wildlife areas, Nature & Parks
Activities: Hiking
Owner description: This scenic desert area is good for hiking and other outdoor activities.
Write a Review

43 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    20
    19
    4
    0
    0
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Falls Church, VA
Top Contributor
202 reviews 202 reviews
31 attraction reviews
88 helpful votes 88 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2015

If you are in Barstow and have an hour or two, the Rainbow Basin is worth the drive. Beautiful, colorful rock formations. The basin is notable for the fantastic and beautiful shapes of its rock formations and its fossil beds. The downside is a long dirt road, a one way loop that can be difficult in places, especially for two... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Pottstown, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
21 attraction reviews
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2015

Only a few miles outside of Barstow is the Rainbow Basin Natural Area. An 8 mile dirt road takes you on a loop through the amazing, colorful rock formations. I had read online that high clearance vehicles were recommended. The loop road was recommended by the folks at the railroad museum who love it here and said that regular cars... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Germany
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2015

We had one day visiting the Mojave National Preserve and the morning after we decided spending some time here. Then the Rainbow Basin Natural Area has really been a beautiful surprise for me and my friends. We had limited time available so we just went driving through the are with a few stops when something looked more exciting, however we... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2014

The Rainbow Basin is one of the should sees in Barstow. Being in the desert there is not a lot to see until you come upon this area. There are a number of look out areas that you can get out of your car and take pictures. We didn't go hiking but I did see a number of others hiking.... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Fort Irwin, California
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
13 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2014

I knew I'd be surrounded by rock and there would be a general color scheme, but I was astounded when sunset came and the somewhat monotone colors turned, quite literally, rainbow! The shapes and shadows made me feel like I was in a different world, and yet, the I also felt the age of this earth. It's an unforgettable place!... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Newcastle
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2014

We didn't have a lot of time so we decided to drive around the loop road, that you supposedly didn't need a 4WD for, rather than walking. Don't do this in a sedan like we did. If you're going to drive I would only do this in a 4WD. The road is way too eroded with massive pot holes and... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
5 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2014

This is a great place if you want to see some of the natural beauty of the California west. A short drive north of Barstow it is a circular drive with places to stop and hike. It's ideal for people who can't or don't want to hike because you can see the terrain well from a car. A gem of... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Georgia
Top Contributor
98 reviews 98 reviews
40 attraction reviews
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2014

I have been to the painted desert in Az. so this wasn't like that at all- the colors were not as vibrant. It was a neat drive, before we turned wrong and got stuck out there in the desert. Be careful about that- especially if you don't have a phone tracking your location. Well, I doubt that happens to many... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Sacramento
Top Contributor
193 reviews 193 reviews
70 attraction reviews
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2014

We drove through the area and found it interesting but it doesn't live up to the word "rainbow" or the comparison to the Artist's Palate drive in Death Valley. If you have extra time in the area, make the effort. But, if you are passing through like we were, it might not be worth your time.

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
6 attraction reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2014

Rainbow basin has a great trail for an easy hike there is soft sand but it's not bad. There are toilets and facets. Good place to camp just doesn't have showers.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1

Travelers who viewed Rainbow Basin Natural Area also viewed

 
Barstow, California Desert
Barstow, California Desert
 

Been to Rainbow Basin Natural Area? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Register now for free — and start getting automatic notification of new reviews, responding to traveler feedback, adding new photos to your listing and much more.

Manage your listing

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from Rainbow Basin Natural Area staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?