Although Calsahara is a barren wasteland, there is a great deal of sightseeing to be done in the immediate area. Calsahara is situated just off Soda Lake Road on the northern border of the Carrizo Plains National Monument, making our tiny country an easy stop on your way to bigger and bolder locales.
CAMPING - Visitors are permitted to set up camp in Otisburg. There is an existing firepit, but no potable water and no electricity. When camping, please exercise extreme caution with fire and always have an emergency bucket of water nearby. The surrounding grasslands are literally a tinderbox and wildfires are a serious hazard. There is no charge for camping in Otisburg, although visitors are asked to clean up their trash when leaving.
STARGAZING - Calsahara is protected by the Tembor Range from city pollution and the skies over our nation are some of the clearest in California. This makes it a perfect location for nighttime stargazing. The skies are literally ablaze with distant stars and magnificent galaxies. Evening temperatures can drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and below 30 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, so amateur astronomers are encouraged to dress warmly and bring plenty of coffee.
WILDFLOWERS - When there has been sufficient winter rain, the spring wildflowers in Calsahara are unmatched. There are spectacular displays throughout the valley and at the neighboring Carrizo Plains National Monument.
SODA LAKE - Directly south of Calsahara is Soda Lake. It is part of the Carrizo Plains National Monument and is a protected environmental area. Although typically wet during the winter, most of the year Soda Lake is a dry alkali lake. It is home to fairy shrimp and is used by migratory birds. There is a scenic overlook hill on the west side of Soda Lake Road where visitors can overlook Soda Lake. It also has restrooms and an information kiosk. There is also a boardwalk leading out to Soda Lake to give you a closer look.
The Goodwin Education Center - The official visitor center for the Carrizo Plains National Monument. Here, you will find lots of interesting exhibits and learn some of the history behind the California Valley. It is only open from December to May, so plan your visit accordingly!
Painted Rock - Painted Rock is a large sandstone formation in the Carrizo Plains National Monument. It was first visited by Native Americans around 4,000 years ago and served as a religious and social focal point for the plains. There are many excellent surviving examples of early pictographs featuring sacred images from ancient Native Americans. Painted Rock is accessible only through special permission from the Bureau of Land Management.
Wallace Creek Hiking Trail - Wallace Creek is one of the few places in the world where you can stand directly on top of a major fault line and maybe even feel an earthquake! This dry creek bed makes for a delightful and informative hike.
Getting to Calsahara is an adventure all its own. When you exit Interstate 5, make sure you have a full tank of gas and your vehicle is in good repair and check your engine coolant because overheating can be a problem, even during the winter. There are no services or gas stations for about 30 miles and cellular phone coverage is spotty.
FROM CALIFORNIA INTERSTATE 5 (NORTH OR SOUTH)
Take the exit for CA-58 Buttonwillow / McKitrick
Follow CA-58 West (16 miles)
Turn Left to continue on CA-58 West
After 1 mile, take a slight right to stay on CA-58 West (this is easy to miss)
Continue on CA-58 West (17 miles)
Take a slight left onto Seven Mile Road (7 miles)
Turn right onto Soda Lake Road (1 mile)
Take second right onto Clarksberg Road (unpaved)
At this point, it gets interesting, but you're practically there!
Clarksberg Road crosses a somewhat dry river (the Seven Seas of Rhye)
Once you cross the mostly dry river, you have arrived in Calsahara!
For GPS navigation purposes, it's easiest to utilize the following address to land you at the entrance of Calsahara. Simply turn down Clarksberg Road (the unpaved side) and you're officially in Calsahara!
Soda Lake Rd & Clarksberg Rd
Santa Margarita, CA 93453