Mojave National Preserve Travel Guide

  • Warnings and Dangers
    by Yaqui
  • Warnings and Dangers
    by Yaqui
  • Warnings and Dangers
    by Yaqui

Mojave National Preserve Things to Do

  • Kelso Depot & Visitor Center

    Kelso Depot Visitor Center has loads of information, exhibits, orientation film, art gallery, bookstore, restrooms, lunch counter, water, picnic area. You have to see it to really appreciate it!Hours of OperationOpen daily (except Christmas Day), 9 a.m.–5 p.m.Entrance Fee~FreeIn August 1900, Utah Senator William A. Clark, a wealthy mine owner,...

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  • Cinder Cones, Lava Flows, and Lava Tube

    Another missed adventure, but someday:)Driving across the Mojave Desert on Interstate 15 or Kelbaker Road, visitors might notice a series of peculiar features on the horizon: thirty-two conical mounds of red and black volcanic rocks rise abruptly above the desert landscape. Surrounded by a sea of hardened lava flows, these little volcanos—cinder...

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  • Kelso Dunes

    We didn't get to this since we didn't have time and my family wanted to get home. Yet, for those who want an adventure such as hikers. Hikers at sunrise and sunset are treated to both cooler temperatures and the rose-colored glow of the dunes. The roughly 3-mile round-trip hike might take several hours as you slog through the sand, then slide down...

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  • The Mojave Road Historical Marker #37~

    The Mojave RoadLong ago Mohave Indians used a network of pathways to cross the Mojave Desert to reach the Pacific Coast from their homes along the Colorado River. In 1776, the Spanish Missionary Francisco Garces became the first non-Indian to trek these trans-desert routes. In 1826 Jedediah Smith trod these trails to become the first white man to...

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  • Feldspar Crystals~

    Just across from the Teutonia Peak Trailhead is the Granite Toes, I notice this line of different stone embedding into the granite rock. After many hours of research I surmise this line to be Feldspar Crystals. As much as I love history, I enjoy geology too. Feldspars have two cleavage planes that intersect at 90°. Fragments of pure feldspar...

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  • Granite Toes~

    Your probably thinking "Granite Toes?" That is what they looked like to me and my family. My youngest was "look at the toes mom!" They are just across from the Teutonia Peak Trail and plaques. Be careful before you cross the road, it may appear to have no traffic, but you never know when someone is flying by.Weathering and erosion in arid regions...

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  • Teutonia Peak Trail Plaques~

    The plaques reads:Desert WoodlandA striking symbol, the Joshua is the only tree in the Mojave Desert that thrives on open flatlands. The range of this yucca tree is limited to the areas shown on the map below, and the forest that surrounds you is on of the largest and densest in the world.Why are there so many Joshua trees here? While no one knows...

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  • Teutonia Peak Trail~

    Explore the world's largest and densest Joshua tree forest en route to a rocky peak with expansive views of Cima Dome and beyond. 3 miles round-trip. We didn't do the whole trail, but explored it a little. We had our little dog, so we didn't want him to get too many thorns in his paws, so we had to carry him off and on. Yet, he enjoyed exploring...

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  • Teutonia Peak Trail Plaque #2~

    Although these are very educational, they are essential information before you begin your hiking adventure. While crossing the slope of Cima Dome in its first mile, Teutonia Peak Trail passes through the densest concentration of Joshue Trees in the world. After passing the remnants of the old Teutonia Mine (STAY OUT~ STAY ALIVE) Mine, the trail...

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  • Kelso Dunes

    No trip to the Mojave Preserve is complete without a climb to the top of the Kelso Dunes!The dunes are over 700-feet (213.3 Meters) tall and take from 1-1/2 to 3 hours to climb, play and walk back to your car. Graceful dune grasses sweep the desert creating ever evolving and disappearing patterns on the dunes. As the trek becomes steeper you’ll...

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  • Hole-in-the-wall rings trail

    This short 1.5 mile loop trail takes you through a bizarre landscape that was created millions of years ago. A nearby volcano went off with an eruption of gas and ash. The ash cooled and the gas dissipated, leaving behind the porous "holes in the walls." Ringbolts serve as hand holds to ease passage through a few steep and narrow sections. They...

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  • hike up Teutonia Peak

    Located on the edge of the Dome, Teutonia Peak offers great views of Cima and the surroundings. This two mile trail crosses the desert through a Joshua tree forest, before climbing up to the peak.

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  • Cima Dome

    Apparently Cima Dome is the largest and most geologically perfect dome in the world that can be best viewed from the top of Teutonia Peak an easy 4 mile roundtrip hike.

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  • The train...

    In case you think you can catch a train at Kelso station, don't count on it. This train came rushing by at noon and passed the station with high speed.

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  • Kelso Railroad station in the old days

    I found this picture of Kelso Railroad Station on the internet. It shows how this place used to be a busy port of call for trains in the days when the gold and silver mines in the area were still operating.

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Mojave National Preserve Restaurants

  • Steve725's Profile Photo

    by Steve725 Written Dec 28, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    On the way back to Barstow, near Dagget (those of you familiar with the movie Erin Brokovich will recognize this town; as such you may not want tap water) is a diner called Peggy Sue's. You have to drive across Dagget...follow the signs to Calico Ghost town; the restaurant will be on the right hand side at the I-15.
    The food is fairly decent. I wouldn't make the 2 hour drive from my house to go here, but worth a stop if you're hungry and going by it.

    Favorite Dish: hamburgers and shakes are de riguer; but they have a variety of sandwiches and salads as well.

    Related to:
    • Desert
    • National/State Park
    • Camping

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Mojave National Preserve Nightlife

  • by Echo_29 Written Jan 4, 2005

    The only nightlife in Nipton consists of bat watching, star gazing, campfires, soaking in the Jacuzzis, and looking for trains descending the Ivanpah grade. This curved line is the "longest, steepest" in America but not the "steepest, longest" according to a railroad conductor.

    Dress Code: It can be cold at night so bundle up or put on your bathing suit for that soak in hot water.

    Nipton Night Train
    Related to:
    • Desert
    • Budget Travel
    • Historical Travel

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Mojave National Preserve Warnings and Dangers

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo

    by Yaqui Updated Jan 1, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Carry plenty of water and a good map.

    Wear sturdy shoes and a hat; use sunscreen

    Consider bringing a flashlight, first aid kit and extra clothing

    Watch for rattlesnakes. If you see one, move away with caution.

    If you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone~yaqui.

    Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. Also, leave a note somewhere at home (on Frigerator or on the Kitchen Table) where somone will find it.

    For more information before visiting:
    Kelso Depot Visitor Center
    Information, exhibits, orientation film, art gallery, bookstore, restrooms, lunch counter, water, picnic area.
    Hours of Operation
    Open daily (except Christmas Day), 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
    Entrance Fee~Free
    Phone
    760 252-6108
    Location
    From I-15: Exit Kelbaker Road at Baker, Calif. Continue 35 miles southeast on Kelbaker Road to Kelso, Calif.
    From I-40: Exit Kelbaker Road (about 29 miles east of Ludlow Calif., or 28 miles west of Fenner, Calif.). Continue 22 miles north on Kelbaker Road to Kelso, Calif.

    Very real~From my yard!
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Road Trip
    • Historical Travel

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Mojave National Preserve Tourist Traps

  • Steve725's Profile Photo

    by Steve725 Written Dec 28, 2004

    Calico Ghost town is a fun place to stopif you've got kids, or you've never been to an authentic ghost town before. Calico was one of the richest ore strikes in California in the 1890's pulling out silver, gold, and other minerals.

    While technically authentic, before it became a county park, it was owned by Walter Knott and Knott's Berry Farm. They preserved it and restored it to commercial acceptability. Which means that the restored buildings house various shops--crafts, leather, rock and mineral store, etc. Additionally, they have built a couple of 'attractions'--a train ride that goes around the hill you can see that isn't worth it unless you have a kid you need to appease. A walk through a mine--only a dollar--for a dollar, why not? And then there is a 'mystery shack' where the floor is crooked; I didn't go through this. Every hour or so on main street there are "gun fight" shows.

    Unique Suggestions: I recall paying a flat rate per vehicle to get in, but I don't remember how much, and the web site lists a per person fee, so I don't know...

    http://www.co.san-bernardino.ca.us/parks/calico.htm

    http://www.calicotown.com/

    Main Street Calico
    Related to:
    • Theme Park Trips
    • Historical Travel
    • Desert

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Mojave National Preserve Off The Beaten Path

  • Colosseum Mine

    Colosseum Gold Mine (Aussie spelling) is a closed open pit mine that produced gold for 6 years, between 1988 and 1993. It is one hell of a hole that is overwhelming.Heed the signs that warn you not to enter the mine site ;)The mine is located on in the small (relative terms) portion of the Reserve on the north side of Interstate 10.Latitude: 35...

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  • Holliman Well

    Throughout the Mojave Preserve you will find the remnants of the 100+ years of ranching that has recently come to an end. This windmill and tanks are just off of Black Canyon Road at the edge of Round Valley.

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  • Teutonia Peak

    The short hike to the top of Teutonia Peak affords an astonishing view out and across the Mojave Preserve. Pack a lunch and enjoy the view at the top.

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Mojave National Preserve Favorites

  • Black Lizards

    Out in the cinder cone region of the East Mojave Preserve there are large lizards that evolved to having black skin for blending in with the lava beds.

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  • Flowers Spring up Everywhere

    To walk anywhere around the desert during wildflower season can be stressful. The ground can become densely carpeted with flowers and to walk without stepping on the beautiful blooms is difficult.

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  • Spring Blooms

    Spring transforms the Mojave Desert if there has been a wet winter. It doesn't take much to have the desert floor expolde in color. Cactus, Joshua Trees, Creosote and all sorts of strange flora pops up where nothing existed months before.

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