What are the vehicle requirements for driving on dirt roads in Mojave?
Vehicles must be street legal as defined by the laws of the state of California. This includes current registration and tags, lights and turn signals, and valid insurance. California "Green Sticker" and "Red Sticker" programs are not recognized. Groups of 7+ vehicles or 25+ people require a Special Use Permit.
Are there dirt roads where vehicles are not allowed?
Yes. Tracks into congressionally designated wilderness areas are now closed. These areas are generally marked with wilderness boundary posts.
What areas are accessible that don't require driving on dirt roads?
Kelso Depot Visitor Center, newly restored to its appearance in 1924 is 18 miles north of I-40 and 34 miles south of Baker along Kelbaker Road. It is open 7 days a week from 9-5 and includes exhibits on desert ecology and history.
The Kelso Depot is temporarily closed due to Covid-19.
Kelso Dunes, 8 miles south of Kelso Depot on Kelbaker Road, tower over 600 feet high. The dunes are accessible via a gravel road that does not require four-wheel drive.
Teutonia Peak Trail with elevations upwards of 5,000 feet, located along the paved Cima Road. From this vantage point, visitors will observe Cima Dome which boasts the largest, densest Joshua Tree forest in the world.
Is there camping at Mojave?
Yes. There are two National Park Service Campgrounds, as well as other camping options nearby. Dispersed camping and backpacking are also permitted.
Are pets allowed?
Yes. Pets outside vehicles must be on a six- foot leash at all times. Please do not leave your animals locked in your vehicle, particularly during the brutal heat of summer.
Is there cell-phone service?
Cell phone service is sporadic and unreliable.
Are there gas stations?
No. The nearest gas stations are available at Baker, Cima Rd. & I-15, Primm, Searchlight, Fenner, Amboy and Ludlow. Running out of gas is a common and expensive problem, please fill up before you enter the Preserve!
Is there lodging?
There is no lodging inside Mojave National Preserve. Lodging is available in Nipton, Ludlow, and Needles, California, as well as Primm and Searchlight, Nevada.
Is there food service?
No. After five years of operating a successful lunch counter at Kelso Depot, the Beanery concessioner retired in October 2013. We are hopeful that food service will be available at Kelso again in the future. The nearest food options are in Baker or Primm, Nevada.
Can I fly my drone here?
No. Unmanned aircraft (drones, quadcopters, etc) are not allowed within any lands managed by the National Park Service, including Mojave National Preserve. For more information, go here.
What is the difference between a National Preserve and a National Park?
Both are managed by the National Park Service, and there is generally no difference in management principles. Hunting and some other extractive uses are allowed in national preserves but not national parks.
Can I collect rocks or plants from Mojave?
No, nothing may be collected and removed from the Preserve unless under a special research permit. Consider Mojave National Preserve a living museum and leave everything as you found it.
What types of wildlife inhabit Mojave?
Desert tortoises, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, bobcats, snakes, roadrunners, golden eagles, gila monsters, and jack rabbits are just a few of the animals that live in the Mojave Desert. Most wildlife in the park is nocturnal and therefore not as readily observable during the day.
Are there venomous snakes?
Several kinds of rattlesnakes, including the highly toxic Mojave green, live in Mojave. To avoid an encounter, watch where you put your hands and feet, especially when climbing on rocks. Stay on trails and if you see a snake, leave it alone.
When is the best time to see wildflower blooms?
March through April is the ideal time to see carpets of wildflowers blanketing hillsides and canyonsides. The intensity and duration of the blooms vary depending upon precipitation and other weather conditions.
Do passenger trains still travel through Kelso?
No. The last passenger train to come through was in 1997. Freight trains still regularly use the line. For more information on passenger train history, click here (PDF, 151.19 KB).