Mojave National Preserve


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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 Hours of Operation 9 a.m. to 5 p.m daily; CLOSED Christmas Day.
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 760 252-6108 for current information on the park.

Hole-in-the-Wall Information Center

Hole-in-the-Wall Information Center

Hours of Operation
Winter (October-April): Friday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Summer (May-September): Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 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.


Overview Video of the Preserve

The Mojave National Preserve was home to many cattle. The 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

The Mojave Road

For a Book and Map of the area see our
Mohave Road guide



Other locations to visit in Mojave Desert




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