• Kelso Mountain


    National Preserve California

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  • Lower speed limits are temporarily in effect until road damage can be repaired

    The Superintendent has temporarily reduced the posted speed limit from 55 mph to 45 mph on all roads within the preserve as road crews work to repair damage from recent heavy rains. Call 760 252-6108 for more information.

  • Watch for storm damage on all roads

    Recent storms have caused flash flooding and damage to roads. Reduce speed and use caution when traveling through the park after storms. Call 760-252-6100 or 760-252-6108 for updates. Check our Current Conditions page for information on specific roads. More »

The Cowboy Legend Lives On in the Mojave

Kessler cattle chute

Cattle chute at Kessler Springs Ranch


It's springtime in the Mojave and the spring roundup is near. The horses are brought in from pasture. They are grained-up and freshly shod for the next six weeks of work. The trucks are readied and greased. Each vehicle and trailer has many spare tires ready to go because the ranch roads are unforgiving as the stock trailers crawl along with their heavy loads. Saddles are oiled, knives sharpened, vaccines ordered, ropes stretched, and corrals repaired as the cowboys get ready for the weeks ahead. Though times have changed the details, the work has stayed the same.

In 1994, when Congress passed the California Desert Protection Act, which created Mojave National Preserve, they recognized ranching as part of the cultural heritage that made the desert a unique and special place. Though most ranchers have left the Mojave, a hearty few remain to continue the tradition.

Today many of the ranching features you see in Mojave National Preserve are historical assets no longer in use, but are preserved as part of a bygone era. Mojave National Preserve is in the process of creating the largest Historical Ranching District recorded in the National Register of Historic Places. This designation would promote the preservation of some of the ranching relics for the pure enjoyment of providing a means of reliving those wild and wooly days, if only in our imaginations.

Did You Know?

photo of kelso dunes

At about 600 feet in height, Kelso Dunes in Mojave National Preserve are the third tallest in North America. When quantities of the sands move, they sometimes create a booming sound. Run down the slopes to try to make the dunes boom. More...