Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area
The Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area (DTRNA) is 39.5 square miles of prime natural habitat set aside for the local wild population of desert tortoise, the official California state reptile. The preserve boasts a rich flora and fauna representative of the intricate Mojave Desert ecosystem. In 1980, the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of Interior, recognized the significance of the DTRNA by designating it as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern and as a Research Natural Area. There is no cost to visit the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area but donations are greatly appreciated!
We Are Open Every Day From 8am – 5pm.
At the Interpretive Center there is a parking area and a kiosk containing descriptive panels, shelter and benches, and a restroom. The Interpretative Center was dedicated in April 1980. The kiosk serves as the trail head for the self-guided trails with maps available at each trail head. The spring months (mid-March to mid-June) are the best times to visit the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area because of the milder temperatures. A naturalist is present during these months for guidance and information. Our naturalist is always happy to answer questions, and provide additional information on the flora and fauna at the DTRNA. If you would like to plan a group field trip or special presentation with the naturalist, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area lies in the northwestern Mojave Desert on the western edge of the Rand Mountains in eastern Kern County. It is northeast of California City- a two-hour drive north from Los Angeles or east from Bakersfield.
The Interpretive Center, with parking lot, information kiosk, restroom, and access to self-guiding trails is located about 4 miles northeast of California City just off the unpaved Randsburg Mojave road — marked by the red marker on the map.
Please bring a hat, water, sunscreen, and close-toed shoes for your adventure on the hiking trails. Be cautious of Mojave rattlesnakes while on trail. Please leave your pets at home as they are not permitted into the fence at the DTRNA.
From CA- 58 (California City Blvd. Exit):
Take California City Blvd. North until you reach the first traffic light. Best Western will be on your left as you approach the light. Continue straight and travel 1.3 miles until you reach a fork in the road at the large gazebo. Turn left onto Randsburg- Mojave Rd. Follow this dirt road for approximately 4 miles until you reach the entrance to the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area.
From California City Proper:
Take California City Blvd. East until you reach the edge of the golf course. Best Western will be on your right as you approach the light. Turn left and travel 1.3 miles until you reach a fork in the road at the large gazebo. Turn left onto Randsburg- Mojave Rd. Follow this dirt road for about 4 miles until you reach the entrance to the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area.