Afton Canyon Preserve

Afton Canyon Preserve, administered by the Bureau of Land Management, is sometimes called the "Grand Canyon of the Mojave". Towering multi-colored cliffs surround you as you hike in the Mojave riverbed. It is one of the rare places along the Mojave river where you can find above-ground water year-round, and beautiful riparian foliage lines the river.

Ancient Lake Mannix drained and formed this canyon channel thousands of years ago. Many different layers of soil types often results in different types of species growing on them. Watch for "strips" of certain species on areas where the cliffs have eroded down the hill. The BLM is in the process of removing non-native species and restoring the native habitat. Many successful non-native species can produce huge quantities of offspring, so every invasive plant that is removed can stop entire hillsides or parks from being invaded.

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Creosote Bush

Many animals make their burrows underneath creosote bushes, including Merriam's Kangaroo Rat and the federally threatened Desert Tortoise. The leaves and tiny seeds of this species are an important food source for rabbits, woodrats, mice, lizards and birds. The USFS has estimated that Creosote Bush covers 35 - 46 million acres in the southwest. A massive clonal colony of this plant was discovered in Lucerne Valley, CA.  Through radiocarbon dating it was placed at 11,700 years old, thus one of the oldest living things on earth and dubbed King Clone.

Creosote Bush shrub in the desert
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