News Release

8-17-2022 Persistent Monsoons in Mojave National Preserve

A desert tortoise walking along a gravel patch next to green grass in the context of a desert landscape with new plant growth
Recent rains have enable many species of plant life to green up, allowing wildlife such as the desert tortoise to come out and forage on the abundant food supply.

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News Release Date: August 17, 2022

Contact: Sierra Willoughby, 760-221-5310

KELSO, Calif. – Monsoonal rains reawakened flora and fauna in Mojave National Preserve since the July 30 event that brought 6 inches of rain to some areas of the park. Average rainfall for August is typically 1.2 inches. More monsoonal rains are forecast for the next week according to the National Weather Service.

Mild temperatures and vibrant green foliage have helped the reemergence of wildlife sightings. White-lined Sphinx moths, California patch butterflies, horned lizards, rabbits, desert tortoise and bighorn sheep have been frequently observed by park staff over the last few weeks. Typically, the month of August is a time of muted desert landscapes, aridity, and scarcity. 

All of the preserve’s paved roads were closed for nearly two weeks because of the flood damage. North Kelbaker Road, between Kelso Depot and Baker, CA, remains closed due to severe washout near the seventeen-mile marker and will likely take months to repair. Zzyzx Road, which leads to the California State University Desert Studies Center, also remains closed because of severe undercutting of the pavement. Flood scars remain for the roads that reopened - debris overflows, steep shoulder drop-offs, and pavement erosion. Driving in the preserve remains hazardous to both humans and wildlife.  

As additional monsoonal rains fall, a heightened risk of washouts and debris overflows on saturated desert roads remains. All travelers in the Mojave Desert should Drive Like A Tortoise™. Take your time, find your path, and win by getting to your destination safely.

For the most current updates on closures and road status conditions in the park, please visit https://www.nps.gov/moja/planyourvisit/monsoon-recovery.htm or follow Mojave National Preserve on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter



A color coded map of rainfall amounts from August 13-16, 2022. Most of the rain fell along the Providence and New York Mountains that extend from south central to north eastern portions of the Mojave National Preserve. Roads are coded for conditions.
rainfall was concentrated along the Providence and New York Mountains for the weekend of August 13 & 14 2022. Roads remain open with the exception of Kelbaker from Kelso to I-15 in Baker. Drivers can detour around via Cima Road and I-15 to Reach Baker from Kelso. All secondary roads such as Cedar Canyon, upper Black Canyon, and the Mojave Road require a four-wheel-drive vehicle with high clearance due to deep sand and wash outs. Loose gravel and steep shoulders require cautious, slower driving.

NPS / MOJA Media Team

Last updated: August 17, 2022

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