Mojave Road Trail Notes
Tips For The Mojave Road
This wonderful trail starts at the Colorado River near Laughlin, Nevada, and ends in Afton Canyon near Barstow. Before you go, get a copy of Dennis Casebier's Mojave Road Guide, and read it over carefully then bring it with you -- it's invaluable. Order online
Be sure to also take along maps. A good recreation map of the Mojave National Preserve is published by Tom Harrison and is sold here on DesertUSA's Web site as part of the Mojave National Preserve Introductory Package. Don't rely on maps alone, however, for driving the Mojave Road. This is not an easy trip and it should not be undertaken lightly. Remember what Dennis Casebier says: you can die out there.
Maps, pamphlets and books are available at the DesertUSA.com Mojave National Preserve Introductory Package can be ordered online.
The Mojave National Preserve is huge and empty. Except the store at Cima (which may or may not be open) there are no services of any kind available. Take plenty of emergency rations and extra water, and fill up your gas tank. Bring plenty of film for your camera; you'll use a lot. Goffs, Nipton and Baker are the nearest supplies, on the edge of the Preserve.
The section of trail that I first traveled in this article is 48 miles, which I covered in 7 hours, including numerous stops. It is definitely 4-wheel-drive only. Much of it would be rated as easy, but parts of it require good clearance as well as low gears. The second part of the trail is shorter-- about 20 miles - - but still a several-hour excursion and is a long way from pavement or services. We saw no other people along this section of the trail, and no sign that anyone had been on it in weeks.
The trail crosses Highway 95 about 25 miles south of Searchlight. The trail can also be easily found on the Cima - Kelso road, south of Cima, across from the Cedar Canyon Road. The Clampers have erected a monument at this point.
The rock cairns built by the Friends of the Mojave Trail are very helpful. They are always on the right when traveling west.
It bears repeating: be prepared for trouble here; it is a long, long way to help. Take extra water and food, and double-check your emergency supplies, tools and tires before taking off. Stay on the road to avoid getting stuck or damaging the scenery for the next people to travel the road behind you. Depending on the carrier, cell phones work in many areas of the Preserve. If you get in trouble, give it a try.
There is dispersed camping, and a nice campground at Mid Hills in the Preserve. Accommodations can be obtained in Baker, Barstow, Needles, Searchlight, Laughlin and Primm, Nevada. Primm is just across the state line on Interstate 15 and has 3 Las Vegas-style resort hotels with cheap rooms and cheap, good food.
The newly revised edition of the Mojave Road Guide includes all new maps, GPS coordinates, and more. The roadlog has been completely updated to reflect changes in managment and landmarks. This is the original Mojave Road Guide authored by Dennis Casebier.
By Len Wilcox
Author of Desert Dancing: The California Journal
Note: As of April 19, 2016, the National Park Service has closed the Mojave Road between Mile 27.0 and 30.5 in the Mojave National Preserve. This closure is due to a washout on the old underground telephone cable road connecting Piute Valley with Lanfair Valley. No date has been set for completion of repairs to the road.
The National Park Service recommends a 29-mile bypass on their Web page. The publishers of the official Mojave Road Guide have developed an alternate 14.2-mile detour for Mojave Road travelers who would prefer a shorter, more historic and scenic route. A PDF with a map and road log is available for download
For a map Click here
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