Today Highway 247 is two lanes wide, little changed since it was paved in 1958. It travels through high desert vistas, and these are little changed for hundreds of years. It takes you past old homestead cabins, some abandoned to the elements, many still occupied, some transformed into dream getaways. It presents a fascinating array of California geology and biology. Mesas, huge sand washes, lava flows, cinder cones, mountains in a variety of forms. The Joshua Tree, signature of the Mojave desert, appears everywhere, sometimes alone, sometimes in forest stands. Yucca abounds and so does the amazing creosote bush. The spring wildflowers can be astonishing; banner years are long remembered since rainfall is so rare.
As the road curves into the breathtaking panorama of Johnson Valley, the views are completely uninterrupted. Sandy tracks wander off into the desert toward old mines, inviting the visitor in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, with a supply of water, to go to the distant mountains. The mystery and mystique of these ranges against the desert sky are unforgettable, whether the sky is clear, hazy, built up with piles of clouds, trailing rain, or even snowing. In the early morning or late evening, long blue shadows trail across alluvial fans and knobby hills. Eagles, hawks and coyotes range far and wide.
The stretch of highway headed north toward Barstow after leaving the settlement of Lucerne Valley also travels through some dramatic country. You leave behind buildings, power transmission towers and other construction for a good long way traveling through the Ord Mountains; scenic, indeed.
The Homestead Valley Community Council (HVCC) formed the Scenic California Highway 247 Committee with the goal of preserving the scenic beauty and remarkable history of this unique route, originally established by wagon wheels.
CA Hwy. 247 begins at Hwy. 62 in Yucca Valley. It travels through the sparsely settled high desert country of Homestead Valley to Lucerne Valley, then continues northward to its end in Barstow.
" We will achieve State Scenic Highway designation for Highway 247 traversing the communities of the Town of Yucca Valley, Flamingo Heights, Yucca Mesa, Landers, Johnson Valley, Lucerne Valley and the City of Barstow."
" We will identify the heightened visual experience in our Mojave Desert through official acknowledgment of our distinct natural, historical and recreational qualities."
" An officially recognized scenic corridor will attract tourism, enhance business and generate community pride."