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Mojave National Preserve - Beyond The Mojave Road

Posted in Events on July 1, 2010
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Driving the Mojave Road is a perfect introduction to the Mojave National Preserve - and the Mojave desert, in general. Once you've driven it, you'll want to go back again.

The Union Pacific railroad depot at Kelso served from 1924 through 1985. After closing, it was scheduled for demolition but escaped the wrecking ball when concerned citizens called for its preservation. Today, Kelso Depot is the main visitor's center of Mojave National Preserve.

When we went back to the Mojave National Preserve, we decided to branch out and explore new corners of the Mojave National Preserve rather than revisiting the Mojave Road. There's no shortage of new terrain, as there are over 1,000 miles of unpaved roads and routes in the Preserve.

During our visit, we had two guidelines: avoid the pavement, and avoid the Mojave Road. We figured if we stuck to these guidelines, we'd see some new terrain and we'd avoid the crowds. Guess what? We were right.

To go exploring in the preserve, you'll need a street-licensed vehicle, and you'll need to stick to established routes. This isn't an open-travel OHV area, although Rasor OHV area and Dumont Dunes are both nearby if you need greater challenge.

Take your maps, your GPS, plenty of water, and all the tools and spares you'd have along for the ride on any other trail run. Plan ahead. Gas isn't available within the preserve, but can be had from several sources along I-15 and I-40, major interstates that form the north and south boundaries.

Last time, we checked out a ghost town, drove up a narrow canyon, and hiked to an old mine. After a semi-decent night's rest in a smoky hotel/casino, we continued our adventure and found cool new stuff at every turn beyond the Mojave Road.

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