Kelso Depot Visitor Center hours
Kelso Depot Visitor Center is open Fridays through Tuesdays from 9 am to 5 pm, closed Wednesdays and Thursdays. The Beanery Lunch Counter is closed.
Mojave Road 4-Wheel Drive Route
The country, as a whole, seemed a vast volcanic desert-of mountains, canyons, and mesas- and what it was ever made for, except to excite wonder and astonishment, is a mystery to the passing traveler...Water was found only at distances of ten and twenty miles apart...
The Mojave Road is an east-west route that enters the park near Piute Spring on the east side and on Soda Dry Lake near Zzyzx on the west. Some sections are rough and sandy; 4 x 4 recommended. Roads can become slick, muddy and impassable after rains. Be sure to inquire about road conditions, especially if you plan to cross Soda Dry Lake.
Used by Indians to transport goods from the southwest to trade with the Chumash and other coatal tribes, this route later served the cause of westward expansion. Military forts were established along the route to protect key water sources and provide assistance for travelers. Today it is a popular four-wheel drive road.
All vehicles operating within Mojave National Preserve must be street-legal in accordance with California DMV requirements. This includes current registration and tags, lights and turn signals, and valid insurance. California "Green Sticker" and "Red Sticker" programs are not recognized with the preserve.
Not all roads are shown on all maps; traces and illegal shortcuts add to the confusion. Travel only on existing, open roads and not cross-country. Creation of new routes and driving in washes are not permitted.
Did You Know?
Mojave National Preserve was established in 1994 through the California Desert Protection Act. Now managed by the National Park Service, the area was known as the East Mojave Scenic Area, under the Bureau of Land Management.