Quirky Attraction: Zzyzx Road in Baker, California

Zzyzx Road

Zzyzx Road
Location: Near Baker, California
When to visit: Anytime during the day
Cost: Free
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.

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16 Comments

  1. Being a Cal State student at the time, I stayed overnight at the center there Zzyzx Road. If I recall, it was originally built and run by some religious cult, and was later bought by the university.

    All I remember was eating marinated beef bbq, drinking a lot of beer, and lying on our backs trying to spot satellites in the night sky. In the morning, we walked out on the salt flats.

  2. That is a weird exit name 🙂
    I have taken that road a while back (2001, I think?)
    At that time there was an abandoned Gas Station with a couple of really rusty old cars dumped in a corner. It provided a fab background for some pictures ….

  3. Lake Jackson, TX, has streets called “This”, “That”, and a whole neighborhood with streets named after chemicals: “Benzene”, “Chlorine”, etc. Their city planners must have had a sense of humor.

  4. I knew this looked familiar! I just had to look it up on a map to see that I had indeed driven past this on a trip from Southern California to Las Vegas.

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