Twentynine Palms, California - Heavy rains resulting in washed out road conditions have closed the Pinto Basin Road from White Tank Campground to Cottonwood Springs.Park maintenance crews expect to have the roadway cleared by early on July 22.
Due to the bridge closure near Desert Center, I-10 is closed from Indio east for eastbound traffic and from Desert Center west for westbound traffic. Box Canyon Road from Mecca is currently open and is the only way to reach Cottonwood Springs. The Cottonwood Visitor Center and Campground will remain open but the Pinto Basin Road is closed north of the Cottonwood Visitor Center until July 22.
"It looks like the roads in the park are still intact. Now, it is simply a matter of cleaning the road and removing the mud, rocks, water and debris," said park superintendent David Smith. "Although we hope to have all of the paved roads open in the next 24-48 hours, it will be awhile before all of the dirt roads are cleared of mud. A safe bet would be to put off any dirt road excursions in the park for a few more days and then check with park staff before exploring."
Park biologists are currently assessing water sources in the northern portion of the park in the hopes of opening the 49 Palms Oasis Trail later this week. The trail has been closed due to drought conditions to allow area bighorn access to the one remaining water hole. Park staff will issue a press release as soon as the trail is officially open.
Visitors are reminded not to drive through fast moving water on roadways and to be vigilant for desert tortoises who venture on to the roads to drink from puddles.