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...
J.F. Rusling describes his 1866 trip on the Mojave Road in Across America
The Mojave Road is an east-west route that enters the park near Piute Spring on the east side and on Soda Dry Lake near Zzyzx on the west. Some sections are rough and sandy; 4 x 4 recommended. Roads can become slick, muddy and impassable after rains. Be sure to inquire about road conditions, especially if you plan to cross Soda Dry Lake.
Used by Indians to transport goods from the southwest to trade with the Chumash and other coatal tribes, this route later served the cause of westward expansion. Military forts were established along the route to protect key water sources and provide assistance for travelers. Today it is a popular four-wheel drive road.
The Mojave Road Guide by Dennis Casebier provides mile-by-mile descriptions of the road. It is available from park information centers or by mail from Western National Parks Association.