The country, as a whole, seemed a vast volcanic desert -- of mountains, canyons, and mesas -- and what it was ever made for, except to excite wonder and astonishment, is a mystery to the passing traveler...Water was found only at distances of ten and twenty miles apart...
About the Road
The Mojave Road is an east-west route, roughly 150 miles long, that traverses the desert between the Colorado River and the Mojave River near Wilmington, Los Angeles, CA. Most of the Mojave Road is within the boundaries of the Mojave National Preserve. The road enters the park near Piute Spring on the east side and on Soda Dry Lake near Zzyzx on the west. The road is not regularly maintained, and some sections are rough and sandy; 4 x 4 is recommended. If visitors wish to drive the entire length of the road, usually 3 days are required. There are opportunities for undeveloped camping along the route of the Mojave Road. There is no registration fee. All campsites are first come first serve.
Mojave Road History
Used by Indigenous people to transport goods from the southwest to trade with the Chumash and other coastal tribes, this route later assisted American settlers on their westward expansion. Military forts were established along the route to protect key water sources and provide assistance for travelers. It was popularized by Dennis Casebier in the 1980s. The Mojave Road Guide by Dennis Casebier provides mile-by-mile descriptions of the road and is still the best resource for planning a Mojave Road trip.
Rules and Regulations
Road conditions vary widely (click here for the latest updates). Dirt roads might be rough, sandy, or muddy, rendering them impassable. Be prepared for any conditions before beginning your trip. Watch for tortoises and other wildlife on roadways.
Top 5 reasons to stay on the Mojave Road while crossing the Soda Dry Lakebed:
2) It’s illegal to drive off the road. Traffic is permitted on the Mojave Road itself, but land on both sides of the road is protected as wilderness, and no wheeled vehicles are allowed.
Last updated: May 6, 2021