Mojave National Preserve
Things To Do
Hiking: Two developed trails can be found in the Preserve. A 2-mile trail (one way) to Teutonia Peak on Cima Dome begins from a trail head on the Cima Road. An 8-mile (one way) trail between Mid Hills campground and Hole in the Wall can be reached from either campground. Many other routes, such as old mining roads, canyons or washes are popular with hikers. Be sure to carry the appropriate topographical map.
Backpackers may camp anywhere in the backcountry. They must be more than 1/2 mile from a road and more than 1000 feet from a water source. They are encouraged to "Leave No Trace" and to carry their trash out. Camping is limited to 14 days in one camp. Please bring your own firewood, as none is available in the Preserve.
Hunting is permitted in the Preserve in designated areas and according to federal, state and local regulations. There is no hunting in the safety zones around all recreation sites and in the Granite Mountain Research Natural Area. Target shooting and "plinking" are not allowed in Mojave National Preserve.
A variety of roads offer visitors access to many of the special features of the Preserve. Sand dunes, a historic railroad depot, Mitchell's Caverns (closed), scenic canyons, the Mojave Road and cindercones are just a few of the resources that can be enjoyed. Some of the roads are signed, others will require a map. Motor vehicles and bicycles must remain on established roads. Driving in washes or off-road is not allowed. All motor vehicles must be street legal. High clearance four-wheel drive is recommended on most unpaved roads. Check at the visitor center for specific information on road conditions. Click here for video
The Preserve has about 1,200 miles of road, enough to keep the busiest of desert explorers going for some time. The quality ranges from paved two-lane roads, to good maintained dirt roads, to extremely rough 4-wheel drive routes. Contact one of the Information Centers for questions on specific roads. Remember that a good dirt road can rapidly deteriorate after a storm.
One of the most popular routes is the historic Mojave Road. The United States acquired California along with the rest of the Southwest after the Mexican/American War, and the Mojave Road was one of the early routes through what is now the Mojave National Preserve. It was part of a trail that connected the military barracks in Wilmington, California with the new town of Prescott, Arizona.
The portion of the road crossing the Preserve enters on the east at Piute Springs and exits at Soda Lake on the west. Along the way you can see the remnants of historic army posts, and a wide variety of desert landscapes that make this land so beautiful. The Mojave Road Guide by Dennis Casebier is a valuable introduction to this incredible resource. For more on the Mojave Road. click here.
Temperatures can be extreme and water scarce. Limited supplies of water are available at the campgrounds, and visitors are advised to bring a supply. When hiking, carry at least a gallon per person per day, and don't forget to drink it!
Wear clothing that will protect against sun and wind. Although it may be hot during the day, nights can be cool, so bring extra layers of clothing. Summer temperatures can exceed 100 degrees and winter temperatures can dip well below freezing, especially at higher elevations.
Be sure that you and your vehicle are prepared for extreme conditions.
Watch out for flash floods. Violent downpours in distant areas may result in flooding where you are. Be alert when traveling in desert canyons and washes. Gas, water and telephones are found only in a few widely scattered locations around the Preserve.
No overnight motel accommodations are found in the Preserve. Motel rooms are available in Baker and some are found in Nipton. Small stores with limited food stuffs are located at Cima and Nipton.
Pets are allowed in the Preserve, but must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet. Do not allow them to disturb other visitors or wildlife. Do not leave them locked in your vehicle, as high temperatures can be fatal.
For a Book and Map of the area see our
Mojave National Preserve Introductory Package
Mojave Road Guide Book
Other locations to visit in Mojave Desert
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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.
4 Wheeling on Old Dale Road
Joshua Tree NP
Click here to see current desert temperatures!