4-Wheel Drive Routes

Four-wheel driving at Mojave National Preserve.
Four-wheel drivers have access to over a thousand miles of unpaved roads.

NPS Photos

Before beginning any adventure, four-wheel drivers should ensure that their vehicle is in good condition: check tires, oil, and gas gauge. For emergencies, carry tools, tire jack, towrope, extra water, and fluids for your vehicle. Carry a good map; do not depend upon GPS navigation devices.

Rules of the Road
All vehicles operating within Mojave National Preserve must be street-legal in accordance with California DMV requirements, including current registration and tags, lights and turn signals, and valid insurance. California "Green Sticker" and "Red Sticker" programs are not recognized within the preserve.

Off-pavement travel is allowed only on existing, open dirt roads. Do not travel cross-country or create new routes. This rule is strictly enforced; violators will receive citations. Driving in washes is not permitted. Watch for and respect Wilderness Boundary signs; motorized vehicles and bicycles are not allowed in designated wilderness areas.

Road Conditions
Road conditions vary widely (click here for the latest updates). Dirt roads might be rough, sandy, or muddy, rendering them impassable and the unprepared motorist could be trapped many miles from help. Watch for tortoises, and other wildlife on roadways.

photo of lava tube
Shafts of light illuminate visitors in the lava tube, accessible via Aiken Mine Road.

NPS Photo

Aiken Mine Road to the Lava Tube
From Baker, drive 21 miles south on Kelbaker Road, then about 4.5 miles northeast on Aiken Mine Road. Bear left at the fork, pass a corral on the left and then park in the wide spot just before the volcanic rock begins.

Continue walking up the road on foot for 300 yards. Watch for a short, trail off to the right leading up onto the dark basalt rock. The trail ends at a hole with a ladder in it. This is the entrance to the lava tube.

Printable brouchure on the Lava Tube with directions and map.

photo of Clark Mountain
White fir on Calrk Mountain are remnants from cooler and wetter times of the Pleistocene (i.e., the last Ice Age).

NPS Photo

Clark Mountain
The only portion of Mojave National Preserve north of I-15 is also its highest point, at 7,929 feet. A relict white fir grove near the top is one of only three in the Mojave Desert.

A network of dirt roads lead to several abandoned mine and town sites. Exit I-15 at Cima Road or Yates Well and use a map to navigate a maze of unmaintained dirt roads.

photo of camper at Caruthers Canyon
Shaded, primitive campsites attract many four-wheel drivers to Caruthers Canyon.

NPS Photo

Caruthers Canyon
Surrounded by mountains rising over 7,500 feet, a botanical "island" of chaparral plants remains from wetter times of the past. Primitive campsites are situated in a valley surrounded by jumbled rock.

From the intersection of Ivanpah and Morning Star Mine roads, drive 21 miles southeast on Ivanpah Road. Turn west on New York Mountain Road and continue for about 4.5 miles to a four-way intersection. Turn north and follow the road up into Caruthers Canyon.

Last updated: May 10, 2020

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Mailing Address:

2701 Barstow Road
Barstow, CA 92311


(760) 252-6100

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