When we read the initial press release from the BLM regarding a temporary closure surrounding next months (Jan 31- Feb10) King Of The Hammers race in Johnson Valley, it left us with more questions than answers.

Here’s the Press Release from the BLM

BARSTOW, Calif. – The Bureau of Land Management will implement a temporary closure of public lands in the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Area in San Bernardino County from Jan. 31 – Feb. 8, to enhance public safety during the 2020 King of the Hammers desert races, which is authorized by a BLM Special Recreation Permit.

The temporary closure will comply with the management plan for the area, ensuring a minimum of three staging areas within the Johnson Valley OHV Recreation Area remain open to the public for both weekends of the temporary closure period. Registered race spectators, participants, and race officials are exempt from the closure.

A temporary closure is necessary to facilitate public safety and provide for an enhanced recreation experience for event participants and spectators. The public is reminded to cooperate with race officials and local law enforcement officers to help spectators and participants stay safe and ensure the success of the off-road races.

This desert race event attracts approximately 50,000 spectators during the nine-day period. Information on the King of the Hammers race event and a map of the closure area for the 2020 race event will be posted at the California Desert District Office, the Barstow Field Office and on the BLM website at least 30 days prior to the event.

As stewards, the BLM manages public lands for the benefit of current and future generations, supporting conservation in pursuit of its multiple-use mission. For more information, contact the California Desert District Office at (951) 697-5200, or the Barstow Field Office at (760) 252-6000.

We reached out to the BLM and they gave us these answers quickly.

1.  Which three staging areas will remain open? 

Answer: Cougar Buttes, Soggy Dry Lake, and Giant Rock

2. Does this mean spectators can’t ride to viewing spots within the Boone Dry Lake area and surrounding hammer trails? 

Answer:  Individuals will be able to view the race from designated spectator areas.  Maps of those designated spectator areas will be available at the King of the Hammers event.

3. Does this mean spectators and campers can not ride the hammer trails and other open areas at night or after races are finished each day? 

Answer:  After the race day ends and the race course is cleared by King of the Hammers personnel, individuals will be able to access the hammer trails such as Chocolate Thunder and Jackhammer as usual.

4. Can you explain exactly what the difference will be from previous years?

Answer: The procedure will be the same as in previous years.

So basically the closure and PR is telling people that while you can still ride in the area, some parts will be closed during race time and you may be warned to leave those areas and pointed to a spectator area. Inside the gates near Hammertown will be similar to years past but expect a little more law enforcement presence to enforce BLM and Ultra4 rules and boundaries. These areas will have fees to enter and camp.

Hammertown is basically at the end of Boone Rd in the center of the map.

If you have more question feel free to try; 

Michelle Van Der Linden 

Public Affairs Officer

Bureau of Land Management – California Desert District

US Department of the Interior, Regions 8 & 10

(951) 697-5217 (o) | (951) 567-1531 (c)


  • Camper Passes: All campers, RVs, and vehicles with living quarters entering the Lakebed, regardless of if you are camping in HammerTown or not, will be required to have a camper pass. These are just $20 for your whole stay and can be purchased in advance HERE or on-site at the gate.
  • Extra Parking Passes: Each registered driver receives 5 parking passes with their race entry (1 competition vehicle, 1 pit bike/UTV, 3 car/truck). These passes are meant for vehicles needing to enter and exit HammerTown as pit/team support. If you need additional parking passes, they can be purchased HERE. All vehicles must fit within your designated garage footprint to keep streets in HammerTown clear.
  • California OHV Stickers: All trail rigs, bikes, quads, UTVs, etc. need some form of permit. Street-legal vehicles need proper plates and registration. California OHVs need a green sticker. Out-of-state motorized vehicles will need to get an out-of-state green sticker. These will be for sale at the information booth in HammerTown. They can also be purchased in advance 
  • online by clicking here. Passes are good for the calendar year.

          Spectator Passes: For those individuals entering the Lakebed but not going into the hot pits or remote pits on race days, Spectator Passes are available also through Ultra4License.com. If you pre-purchase them online, they are $25 and you lock that price in FOR LIFE!!!! If you choose to purchase them on-site, they are $30 and don’t qualify for the price lock.

  • Power: Team generators are once again available for KOH 2020. To rent your generator, please contact Bobby Headley at Brudvick.

Rental Manager

Brudvik, Inc. Rental Division

Office: 760-320-9221

Cell: 760-272-4727

Fax: 760-969-4544

Email: [email protected]

  • Team Wifi: We’re once again offering Team Wifi on the Lakebed for 2020. Public Wifi will be available on-site for purchase on a day/device basis, but if you want a dedicated Wifi connection for your team, you’ll want to place an order for one. You can do so HERE!

To get closer to the action: you can volunteer. Ultra4 Racing is still looking for volunteers starting now through race week and tear down. 

Fill out the Volunteer Application for KOH 2020 HERE!


Read about new areas opening in Johnson Valley, El Mirage and Spangler Hills HERE.

You might also like

Comments are closed.