Location: Near Baker, California
When to visit: Anytime during the day
Time needed: 2 minutes to see the sign / an hour to visit the picnic spot
Website: National Park Service page
This place is a quirky attraction simply for its name. Zzyzx! That’s genius. I’m not sure how it’s pronounced. I’m guessing “zizzicks,” but some outlets say it’s “zy-zicks.” Either way, I have to believe it’s the best street name in America.
Zzyzx Road is located just off Route 15 near the Mojave National Preserve, six miles southwest of Baker, California. Folks going from L.A. to Vegas or vice versa often pass the sign. The road is apparently part paved and part dirt.
What can you do on Zzyzx Road? According to the National Park Service, which actually has a page dedicated to this place, Zzyzx is home to the Desert Studies Center, where California State University students can do field study in a desert environment. There’s a self-guided trail along the shore of Soda Lake with vault toilets and a picnic space for curious travelers.
If you don’t have time for all of that, you can simply do what I did – pull over and snap a pic of the Zzyzx Road sign, because it’s just so weird. You may encounter the sign if you do any road tripping around the Joshua Tree, Death Valley, or Palm Springs area.
The community of Zzyzx used to be named Soda Springs. The road evidently got its name from a local who founded a mineral spa at the location and wanted it to be list dead last on any alphabetical list of places. Kooky!
Today, the Desert Studies Center has a 10,000-watt solar panel, which only makes sense given the extreme desert location with constant sun. A surprisingly wide array of birds and animals live in the area, adding to its appeal as a place for students to learn about desert environments.
Random fact: The rock band Stone Sour named a song Zzyzx Road, and a couple of movies have been named after it.