Roadside Attraction: China Ranch Date Farm

China Ranch_Gift Shop & Bakery

Traveling between Las Vegas and anywhere in California? There’s an excellent chance of finding yourself on hot, monotonous, crowded I-15. If not in a hurry, consider a side trip to China Ranch Date Farm, especially if you are headed north to Death Valley on 127.

Be advised, it’s a bit remote, especially those last few miles (dirt roads, very few signs, etc.), so plan a visit accordingly. As they say in China Ranch:

China Ranch_Saddle and Ride Sign

Why go? Reasons to visit:

  • A fascinating history (see the link above) that cites California luminaries like John Fremont and Kit Carson, the gold seeking ’49-ers, the movie “The Sum of All Fears,” and more. Currently, the place is a working farm. Although you can’t stay overnight there, you can stay nearby.
  • Hiking. But be VERY careful with this one, in this desert environment — the day I visited, two hikers had been missing for several days. A search party gave up. The expectation was that only vultures flying overhead would resolve the mystery.
  • Shopping. Gifts, plants, snacks.
  • The art.
  • Beauty. Nature.

Here, look:

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