• Kelso Mountain


    National Preserve California

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  • Portable toilets at Kelso Depot Visitor Center

    The water system at Kelso is shut down due to problems with the storage tank. Portable toilets are available; bottled water is available for purchase. Campers note-you won't be able to fill water bottles at Kelso until the system is repaired.

  • Telephone at Kelso Depot is not working

    Kelso Depot Visitor Center telephone, 760 252-6108, is not working. For information on weekdays, call 760 252-6100. On Saturday, try calling 760 252-6104.

  • 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.

Visitor Centers

photos of Kelso Depot

From top to bottom: Kelso Depot east; trains still rumble past the historic depot; visitors enjoying a bite to eat at the "The Beanery".

NPS Photos

Kelso Depot Visitor Center
Information, exhibits, orientation film, art gallery, bookstore, restrooms, water, picnic area.

Click here (PDF, 273 KB) to view and/or print an informative brochure about Kelso Depot.

Hours of Operation
Friday - Tuesday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; CLOSED Wednesday and Thursday.

Entrance Fee

760 252-6108

From I-15: Exit Kelbaker Road at Baker, Calif. Continue 35 miles southeast on Kelbaker Road to Kelso, Calif.
From I-40: Exit Kelbaker Road (about 29 miles east of Ludlow Calif., or 28 miles west of Fenner, Calif.). Continue 22 miles north on Kelbaker Road to Kelso, Calif.


The renovated Kelso Depot is now the primary Visitor Center for Mojave National Preserve. Former dormitory rooms contain exhibits describing the cultural and natural history of the surrounding desert. The baggage room, ticket office, and two dormitory rooms have been historically furnished to illustrate life in the depot in the first half of the twentieth century. A 12-minute orientation film is shown in the theater.

Basement gallery space features rotating fine art collections by local artists, focusing on the cultural history and natural splendors of Mojave national Preserve. Click here for information on the current exhibition.

photo of Hole-in-the-Wall Information Center

From top to bottom: Hole-in-the-Wall Information Center against a backdrop of volcanic tuff; Mojave yucca are common along trails; Banshee Canyon overlook.

NPS photos

Hole-in-the-Wall Information Center
Information, bookstore, campgrounds, picnic area, trailhead, restroom, water, telephone.

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

Entrance Fee

760 252-6104 or 760 928-2572

From I-40: Exit Essex Road (about 49 miles east of Ludlow, Calif., or 8 miles west of Fenner, Calif.). Continue 10 miles north on Essex Road to junction with Black Canyon Road. Bear right on Black canyon Road and continue an additional 10 miles to Hole-in-the-Wall.

Ranger-led Programs
(October-May) Join a ranger for an interpretive talk, guided nature walk or evening program.

Basic orientation, as well as a 12-minute film about the preserve.


Headquarters (Barstow) Information Center
Information, bookstore, restroom.

Hours of Operation
Open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–4:00 p.m

Entrance Fee


From I-15: Exit Barstow Road at Barstow, Calif. Continue south to 2701 Barstow Road.

Basic orientation

Did You Know?

photo of detail on Kelso Depot.

The railroad town of Kelso in Mojave National Preserve was named in 1905 by railroad construction workers. Two men placed their names in a hat, along with that of a third who had just moved away. The name drawn from the hat was that of John H. Kelso, the man absent from the drawing. More...