Mojave National Preserve
Kelso Depot Information Center
Built in 1924 by the Union Pacific Railroad, the Kelso Depot has been transformed into Mojave National Preserve’s principal information center, with museum exhibits, historically furnished rooms, a theater, and bookstore.
35 miles south of Baker, California.
From I-15, exit at Kelbaker Road and drive south 35 miles to Kelso.
From I-40, exit at Kelbaker Road and drive north 22 miles to Kelso.
Wednesday through Sunday, 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
Closed Monday & Tuesday.
The Kelso Depot will be open every day starting in March, 2006.
Restrooms and water are available at Kelso Depot.
Drinks and limited snacks are available at Cima, 19 miles northeast of Kelso on Kelso-Cima Road.
Gasoline is available on I-15 at Baker and at the Cima Road exit, and on
I-40 at Ludlow and Fenner.
Call 760 252-6101 on weekdays, or 760 928-2572 on weekends, for current information on the park.
Hole-in-the-Wall Information Center
October through April: Wednesday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. May through September: Friday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m
Volcanic cinder cones, slow-paced desert tortoises, wild west cattle operations, booming sand dunes, historic and modern mines, rock formations etched with messages from former residents, vast scenic vista framed by Joshua trees -- this is the Mojave National Preserve.
The Desert Protection Act created the 1.4 million acre Mojave National Preserve in the heart of the Mojave Desert. This act transferred the lands known as the East Mojave National Scenic Area from the Bureau of Land Management to the National Park Service. The National Park Service administers a variety of ecosystems in the Mojave National Preserve to preserve the region's natural and cultural resources.
The desert in the Mojave National Preserve ranges in elevation from less than 1000 feet to almost 8000 feet. The best months for visiting are October through May.Wildlife is abundant and over 300 different species of animals including desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, coyotes and desert tortoises roam the area. Many birds live in the area. Golden eagles and several types of hawks can be seen soaring on the desert thermals. Quail, chukar and mourning doves, as well as many other smaller species of birds, live in the canyons and washes where they are able to find water, food and vegetation for cover.
Desert plants are especially adapted to living in this arid climate. Many have small leaves with waxy coverings to minimize moisture loss, while cacti store large volumes of water. Other plants, such as the creosote, have developed extensive or deep root systems that enable them to gather the precious water. Common plants include yucca, creosote and the Joshua tree. If the winter rains have watered the desert, wildflowers spread across the desert in a rainbow of colors during April and May.
Evidence of the people who have lived and made a living from the desert and its resources is scattered across the region. Petroglyphs and pictographs, etched and drawn on the rocks throughout the region, are evidence of a long history of the peoples who followed the natural cycles of plants and animals, gathering and hunting what they needed to live.
The Mojave National Preserve is also home to many cattle, which can be seen along the roads. OX Cattle Ranch is located on the old town site of Maruba. The OX ranch was bought out by the Mojave National Preserve during 2000. The ranch was part of the original Rock Springs Land and Cattle Company operation, which was the largest operation in the area, extending over most of the eastern Mojave Desert during the early l900s.
Mojave National Preserve is administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. For questions on the administration and management of Mojave National Preserve please contact:
Mojave National Preserve
2701 Barstow Rd
Barstow, CA 92311
For a Book and Map of the area see our
Mojave National Preserve Introductory Package
Other locations to visit in Mojave Desert
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Joshua Tree National Park - Black Eagle Mine Road Video - Beginning 6.5 miles north of the Cottonwood Visitor Center, this dead-end dirt road runs along the edge of Pinto Basin, crosses several dry washes, and then winds up through canyons in the Eagle Mountains. The first 9 + miles of the road are within the park boundary. Beyond that point is BLM land. Several old mines are located near this road.
Ocotillo Wells - Are You Riding Your ATV Over Gold? One of the most famous prospectors of the time, trapper/gold seeker "Pegleg Smith" traveled through the Anza Borrego region. It's rumored he discovered black gold somewhere in the east part of the Park. Where he found his gold has never been discovered, or if it has, the location has never been published or verified.
Randsburg, Living Ghost Town Video
Randsburg, California is located southwest of Ridgecrest, just off of Highway 395. Gold was first discovered here in 1895 at the Yellow Aster Mine. The mines of the area have produced over one million ounces of gold. Today the gold mining activities have been replaced by tourists shopping for antiques, part-time prospectors, and off-roaders looking for food and a rest stop.
Road Trips Videos
Exploring Route 66 - Historic Mohave Desert Sites
Amboy Road at Sheeps Hole Pass looks into the big basin of Bristol Dry Lake, which was covered by the sea about four million years ago. Across the salt lake, Amboy Dry Crater rises in the distance. The town of Amboy dates back to 1858; it became a critical gas and rest stop on Route 66 after World War II. When I-40 bypassed it in 1972, Amboy almost became a ghost town. Follow the DesertUSA team as they revisit old Route 66 in the Mohave and take a look at some historic sites along the way.
Click here to see current desert temperatures!
DesertUSA is a comprehensive resource about the North American deserts and Southwest destinations. Learn about desert biomes while you discover how desert plants and animals learn to adapt to the harsh desert environment. Find travel information about national parks, state parks, BLM land, and Southwest cities and towns located in or near the desert regions of the United States. Access maps and information about the Sonoran Desert, Mojave Desert, Great Basin Desert, and Chihuahuan Desert.