Exploring the Abandoned Boron Federal Prison Camp

  • Updated: June 03, 2012
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

June 3rd, 2012

Along the 395 6 miles north of Kramer Junction is an entrance to…something. I’d driven by it a number of times and always assumed it was a shuttered observatory due to the large white done on the hill behind it.

Turns out it’s the abandoned Boron Federal Prison Camp.

Image from http://www.radomes.org/museum/recent/BoronAFSCA.html

From http://clui.org/ludb/site/boron-air-station-and-prison

At a remote desert site six miles north of Kramer Junction is a former Federal Prison Camp, which closed in April, 2000. It was one of around 47 minimum security federal prison camps in the country, and housed about 540 male inmates. Workers in the prison assembled parts for military vehicles and rebuilt forklifts for the army. The boarded up prison facility is located on the site of the old Boron Air Station. Also known as the Boron Air Force Radar Facility, it was managed by nearby Edwards Air Force Base, and consisted of several barracks and administration buildings spread out over a few hundred acres, with a large radar dome at the peak of the hill. It was once a part of the National Air Defense Command. Most of the facility was later used by the Prison Camp, and it is now abandoned and being vandalized. It may eventually be sold as surplus property through the GSA. The domed structure at the hill top is still in use by the Air Force and the FAA.

Apparently it was quite the cushy location


BORON, Calif. — The prison has no walls, fences, bars, gun towers or guns. Guards are nattily attired in gray slacks, powder-blue shirts, maroon ties and navy blazers. Amenities include a swimming pool and two full-time recreation directors.

Some inmates, who are allowed to leave the prison unescorted, spend their days working in nearby communities and their evenings umpiring games for the local Little League.

Incarceration at the Federal Prison Camp at Boron is more a state of mind than a state of siege. An imaginary line around the prison and a few inconspicuous "Off Limits" signs are the only boundaries separating freedom from imprisonment.

Picture from http://www.radomes.org/museum/showsite.php?site=Boron+AFS,+CA
It’s decayed / been trashed a bit since it closed with at least two arson fires taking out different buildings.


When we stopped by after a Sierra trip it was about an hour before sunset and we had a strong wind blowing through the ruins causing the buildings to creak rather ominously.  Basically the perfect conditions to explore an old abandoned prison

Typical of abandoned structures in the desert every single instance of glass on the property had been smashed, several things had been shot with various firearms, and at least two structures had been set on fire.

The only non trashed structure was the radar installation on top of the hill.

This was protected by a sturdy fence, barbed wire, cameras, and some strongly worded signs forbidding trespassing.

Probably has something to do with this sign…

So we went elsewhere to amuse ourselves.

Apparently we weren’t the only ones to think it made the perfect setting for a zombie movie.

There was also a large garage complex where the prisoners apparently fabricated parts for the nearby military base.

There was even an underground area that we couldn’t explore fully due to the fact we’d left the headlamps back in the vehicle (damnit!)

Note the singular chair pointed at the far wall.  Next time!

Anything loose had been trashed, stolen, set on fire, ect.

The sun was going down and we had a ways more to drive so we reluctantly headed back to where we’d left my vehicle.  I was happy to see it was still there.

Just as we were about to leave a singular light came on up the hill attached to the radar dome.

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  1. Cool, we just passed prison

  2. Actually, before it was used briefly as a prison camp, it was an air force installation. The radar dome there is part of the FAA "Los Angeles center" high altitude ATC

  3. I used to work at FPC Boron. Thanks for sharing your pictures