Corn Springs, located in the desert of southern California, has a rich history. Indians inhabited the area for thousands of years before it became a mining hot spot. There are a lot of neat things to see at Corn Springs, but be prepared, because the temperatures and terrain are not mild.
Located off the I-10 at Chuckwalla Valley Road, Corn Springs isn’t really for the casual sightseer. Once you exit Chuckwalla, there are six-plus miles of dirt road to travel before you get to the campground. Two-wheel drive is fine, though. If you are coming from the Inland Empire, Corn Springs is way, way out there, but it’s an interesting day trip or camping adventure.
An eerie-looking, out of place ring of super tall palm trees marks the campground. The website called it an oasis, and it’s quickly evident as to why. Other than the ring of palm trees, Corn Springs looks about as barren and deadly as it gets. The camping spots are minimal but functional, with a bench, fire pit, and grill at each site. There are restrooms, as well, which is good news for the ladies.
Traveling up the dirt road a few minutes brings you to Edward Wodetzki’s abandoned cabin. He and his family mined the Corn Springs area from the forties to the eighties. I was pleasantly surprised to see the cabin fully intact and not spray painted with gang logos. Instead, people leave guest books, trinkets, bottles, and other neat stuff that add to the cabin’s intrigue instead of mucking it up. It’s also fascinating to see just how simply and brutally the Wodetzkis lived.
A ways up the road past the cabin is a site called Three Graves. As you can imagine, there are three graves in the ground. We didn’t have the opportunity to travel to the graves, but we will next time we are out at Corn Springs.
Keep your eyes peeled because there are Indian rock carvings called petroglyphs all over the place. You can actually walk up to many of them if you follow the streambed just off the campground. Some of these are 10,000 years old, which is something I find just amazing.
I visited Corn Springs in late May and while it wasn’t a complete oven, it was very warm and there was no breeze until the early evening. The official website says that springtime is the best time to go, though, so keep that in mind. The temperatures are dangerously hot in the summertime and far too cold in the wintertime.
Even if you go when the weather is mild, I recommend a full-brimmed hat, long-sleeves, and rugged shoes at the very least. There are a lot of cactus on the ground, and creepy-crawlies are everywhere at night, so be prepared. Bring more water and snacks than you think you’ll need. I also recommend double-checking the spare tire, because getting a flat out there could be deadly.
In short, Corn Springs is a neat place to visit, but you probably won’t have much reason to go back unless you live somewhat locally. Read about the area on the website (linked below) before you go to get a better idea what to expect. I had a real nice time at Corn Springs, and I’m very glad I went.
Official website: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/palmsprings/corn_springs_campground.html
Wiki entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_Springs