Top five scenic drives in the High Desert

From Daily Press

The Sunday drive used to be a staple for many American families. Our culture’s love affair with the automobile prompted many Americans to want to get out on the open road on the weekend and explore destinations near and far. Cheap gas fueled the habit, too. The High Desert is full of adventure for those who want to drive.

Not as many families have continued the tradition of Sunday drives. Over the years, rising gasoline prices probably caused many to put the brakes on the practice. But gas is much cheaper than it’s been in years and the High Desert has numerous areas worth exploring that feature beautiful scenery away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Here’s a rundown of the Daily Press staff’s picks for the top five scenic drives in the High Desert:

Victor Valley High Desert

1. Summit Valley

There’s no better place for a Sunday drive than Summit Valley south of Hesperia. The area is sparsely populated and features some gorgeous scenery. The north end abuts the Mesa section of Hesperia. The south end borders Highway 138, which will take you to Silverwood Lake. There are horses and cattle roaming the ranch at the southern end, with a stream running through the property. Take Main Street in Hesperia to Arrowhead Lake Road (which becomes Highway 173) and follow it to Highway 138. Make a right and continue to Summit Valley Road, where you can make a right to complete the drive back to Hesperia. (Note: If Hesperia approves the Tapestry housing project, this area will be forever changed.)

Victor Valley High Desert

2. Old Woman Springs Road (Highway 247) through Lucerne Valley to Yucca Valley

It’s a simple two-lane highway, but offers a pretty drive. The San Bernardino Mountains (and Big Bear) will be on your right, desert on your left. You’ll pass through Johnson Valley and Landers on the way to Yucca Valley. The closer you get, the more Joshua trees you’ll see.

3. Barstow Road from Lucerne Valley to Barstow

One of the least traveled roads in the High Desert offers some beautiful scenery along the way. You can stop at the Slash X Cafe for a refreshment, too.

Victor Valley High Desert Winter Storm

4. Highway 2 in Wrightwood

The High Desert ends where the mountains begin, and this road offers gorgeous scenery and views of the valleys below on both sides. The number of pine trees increases the higher you climb in elevation and the air is crisp and clean. Especially recommended for those with a convertible.

Victor Valley High Desert

5. Sycamore Rocks area of Apple Valley

Take Central Avenue to Waalew Road in Apple Valley and then just enjoy the view of the rocks. A stop at Sunset Hills Memorial Park on Waalew also is recommended, as the views of the Victor Valley from there are spectacular.