Mojave National Preserve: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mojave National Preserve
IUCN Category V (Protected Landscape/Seascape)
Location San Bernardino County, California, USA
Nearest city Baker, California
Coordinates 34°53′00″N 115°43′00″W / 34.8833333°N 115.7166667°W / 34.8833333; -115.7166667Coordinates: 34°53′00″N 115°43′00″W / 34.8833333°N 115.7166667°W / 34.8833333; -115.7166667
Area 1,534,819 acres (621,119 ha)
Established October 31, 1994
Visitors 632,521 (in 2005)
Governing body National Park Service
Official website
Hole-in-the-Wall canyon

Mojave National Preserve is located in the Mojave Desert of San Bernardino County, California, between Interstate 15 and Interstate 40. The preserve was established October 31, 1994 with the passage of the California Desert Protection Act by the US Congress.[1] Previously, it was the East Mojave National Scenic Area, under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management.[2]

Natural features include the Kelso Dunes, the Marl Mountains and the Cima Dome, as well as volcanic formations such as Hole-in-the-Wall and the Cinder Cone Lava Beds. The preserve encloses Providence Mountains State Recreation Area and Mitchell Caverns Natural Preserve, which are both managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Impressive Joshua Tree forests cover parts of the preserve. The Cima Dome and Shadow Valley forests are the largest in the world.[3] The defunct railroad depot and ghost town of Kelso is also found there. The preserve is commonly traversed by 4 wheel drive vehicles traveling on the historic Mojave Road.

Joshua Tree in the Mojave National Preserve

The climate varies greatly. Summer temperatures average 90 °F (32 °C), with highs exceeding 105 °F (41 °C). Elevations in the Preserve range from 7,929 feet (2,417 m) at Clark Mountain to 880 feet (270 m) near Baker. Annual precipitation varies from 3.37 inches (86 mm) near Baker, to almost 9 inches (230 mm) in the mountains. At least 25% of precipitation comes from summer thunderstorms. Snow is often found in the mountains during the winter.


Mojave Wilderness

The California Desert Protection Act (CDPA) of 1994 designated a wilderness area within Mojave National Preserve of approximately 695,200 acres (281,300 ha). The National Park Service manages the wilderness in accordance with the Wilderness Act, the CDPA, and other laws that protect cultural and historic sites in the wilderness.[4]


On May 14, 2008, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a Justice Department petition to rehear en banc its September 2007 decision striking down a congressionally mandated land exchange to save an 8-foot (2.4 m) metal cross that is bolted onto rocks on a rise in the Preserve. The court found the land exchange to be a transparent "attempt by the government to evade the permanent injunction enjoining the display of the Latin cross" on federal land.

Locations within the Preserve


External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

North America : United States of America : California : Desert : Mojave National Preserve

Mojave National Preserve [1] is a United States National Preserve that is part of the United States National Park System. It is located in the southeastern desert of the state of California.

The massive Kelso Dune complex, home of the singing sand dunes
The massive Kelso Dune complex, home of the singing sand dunes

Mojave National Preserve's vast expanse of desert lands include elements of three of the four major North American Deserts: the Mojave, Great Basin, and Sonoran. The Preserve's unique ecology is attributed to its remarkable geology. The desert is a land of old mountain ranges, sand dunes, great mesas and volcanic features such as cinder cones, domes, and lava flows; these features contribute to the remarkable beauty of the landscape. The most ancient rocks in the preserve, found in the Clark Mountains, are 2.5 billion years old.

Flora and fauna

Changes in elevation and soil type, combined with dozens of seeps and springs, many in sheltered canyons, create a wide range of microhabitats that support a rich diversity of plants and animals. Some species are only found in this area. Notable plant assemblages include one of the largest and most dense Joshua tree forests, cactus gardens, and relect plant communities of white fir and chaparral.

Signs of animal life are subtle and easily overlooked. Birds and lizards are seen most frequently, but time of day, weather, and season all play a role in determining which animals are active. A large percentage of desert animals are nocturnal: being active at night rather than during daylight hours allows them to avoid both high daytime temperatures and predators. Typical nocturnal animals include most desert rodents, bats, owls, mountain lion, skunks, and foxes. Other animals are crepuscular, active at dawn and dusk, and include coyotes, bighorn sheep and jackrabbits. Diurnal animals, those active during the day, are the most dynamic in that their activity periods will change based on temperature and season.


The weather is generally most comfortable in the spring and fall. Temperatures vary greatly by elevation. At low elevations, daytime highs are in the 70s in March; lows are in the 40s. Highs over 100 typically begin in May and can last into October. In the mountains, daytime highs are in the 70s in May; lows are in the 50s. Winters can bring freezing temperatures and occasional snows, with daytime highs in the 50s and 60s.

Annual precipitation ranges from 3.5 inches at lower elevations to nearly 10 inches in the mountains. Most rain falls between November and April; summer thunderstorms may bring sudden, heavy rainfall. The driest months are May and June. Winds are a prominent feature of Mojave Desert weather. Strong winds occur in fall, late winter, and early spring months.

Get in

By plane

The nearest airports are in Ontario (140 miles from the western boundary of the Preserve) and Las Vegas (60 miles from the eastern boundary of the Preserve).

By car

The Preserve is easily reached via I-15 or I-40 east of Barstow, and west of Needles and Las Vegas. There are six freeway exits that provide visitor access.

By train/bus

Baker, the northwest entrance to the Preserve, is served by Amtrak's bus service, providing connections to Amtrak trains.


There are no entrance fees to the preserve, but some of the preserve's campgrounds do charge a usage fee for overnight camping.

Get around

Road conditions vary from paved, two-lane highways to rugged 4-wheel drive roads. Access is possible on foot, on bike, on horse, or by vehicle.

  • The restored Kelso Depot is now the Preserve's visitor center. Kelso Depot is an old two-storey Union Pacific train station built in the 1920s in the Spanish style. The depot narrowly escaped demolition in the 1980s before being taken over by the National Park Service.
  • Cave tours at the Mitchell Caverns in the Providence Mountains State Recreation Area (administratively not part of the Preserve, but entirely surrounded by it).
  • Four-wheel-driving - The multi-day drive along the historic Mojave Road is a favorite of serious four-wheel-drive enthusiasts (off-road riding not permitted however).
  • Kelso Dunes - The massive Kelso Dunes are easily accessible by car (no four-wheel-drive needed). Beyond their large size, these dunes also have a phenomena called "singing" or "booming" dunes. When the moisture content is right in the sands, they emit a low thrumming sound as sand slides down the slope. Try running down the slope of a dune to trigger the sound. From the parking area, the dunes do not appear to be very far away or very large. This is an optical illusion. Allow at least an hour to climb to the top of the nearest dune.
  • Kelso Depot visitor center contains a book shop specializing in books related to desert topics. A small but substantial library on the second floor provides a lot of interesting material for those who like to read.
  • The general store at Nipton, on the north edge of the Preserve, also sells books on desert-related topics, as well as some crafts from the region.


There are no restaurants in Mojave National Preserve. Restaurants are available in Baker, California. A café at Nipton, on the northern edge of the Preserve, provides home-cooked food six days a week.



There is no commercial lodging inside the Preserve. Motels are available at Baker, Primm, Nevada and a small, antique bed-and-breakfast is available at Nipton on the Preserve's northern edge.


Car camping is available both in developed campgrounds or along roads in sites that have traditionally been used for that purpose. Do not camp along paved roads, and never camp within 200 yards of water sources.

  • Black Canyon Equestrian & Group Campground (year round), Ph: (760) 928-2572. Located directly across the road from Hole-in-the-Wall Ranger Station and Campground. Facilities include pit toilets, water, and a picnic shelter with tables. Reservations are $25 per night; call (760) 928-2572.
  • Hole-in-the-Wall Campground (year round), Ph: (760) 928-2572 or (760) 252-6100. Surrounded by sculptured volcanic rock walls, the Hole-in-the-Wall Campground is at 4,400 feet elevation. The 35 campsites are large enough for motorhomes and trailers. Two walk-in tent sites are also available. Facilities include pit toilets, picnic tables, fire rings, trashcans, and drinkable water. There are no utility hookups but there is a dump station. Spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis for $12 per site per night. Fees for Golden Age/Access Passport holders are $6 per site per night.
  • Mid Hills Campground, Ph: (760) 928-2572 or (760) 252-6101. Nestled in pinyon pine and juniper trees at 5,600 feet, Mid Hills Campground is much cooler than the desert floor below. The road to the campground is not paved and is not recommended for motorhomes or trailers. There are 26 campsites with picnic tables and fire rings. Pit toilets, trashcans, and drinkable water are * provided. Spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis for a $12 per site per night fee. Fees for Golden Age/Access Passport holders are $6 per site per night. Some sites are closed due to a recent wildfire.
  • Providence Mountains State Recreation Area (Mitchell Caverns) offers six campsites on a first-come, first-served basis. Cave tours of the Mitchell Caverns attract many people. This is a small campground that is entirely surrounded by the Preserve, though administratively not part of it. The location is on an east-facing mountain ledge with beautiful views and sunrises, where the wind can sometimes be quite fierce.


Much of the Preserve is federally designated wilderness, where mechanized travel by car or bicycle is prohibited. Only travel by horse or foot is allowed in these areas. A network of backcountry roads, often suitable only for four-wheel-drive vehicles or, sometimes, well-equipped mountain bikes, provides access to many of these areas.

Campsites are often found sporadically along backcountry roads in the Preserve.

Stay safe

Carry lots of water. There is very little water available in the Preserve. Bottled water can be purchased along I-15 in Baker and at the gas station/store at I-15/Cima Road, at the general store in Nipton, at the Cima store (which isn't always open), and at the gas station in Fenner near the junction of I-40 and old Route 66 on the south side of the Preserve.

Public drinking water is available at the Mid Hills and Hole in the Wall campgrounds, at Mitchell Caverns campground (Providence Mountains State Recreation Area), and from water fountains at Kelso Depot visitor center washrooms (open 24 hours a day) or inside Kelso Depot during open hours.

In the backcountry, water is often available from the cistern at Marl Springs along the old Mojave Road (needs to be filtered/treated). Numerous small springs with varying (and sometimes non-existent) quantities of water exist throughout the Preserve for folks with water filters, such as Butcher Knife Spring. Research prior to travel relying on such springs is required. For example, a tiny stream of filterable water was available during one camper's visit at Indian Springs off Kelbaker Road a day after after Xmas 2007.

  • Baker. A tiny town on the park's northwestern border that offers options for food, fuel and supplies.
  • Las Vegas. Located sixty miles from the park's eastern border, Sin City is America's playground.
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