Mojave National Preserve a sprawling playground

Cooler autumn temperatures usher in the best season to visit the sprawling Mojave National Preserve. The 1.6 million-acre Southern California preserve encompasses a scenic and historic portion of the Mojave Desert.

The remote region, managed by the National Park Service, is popular with campers, hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders and off-highway explorers. A handful of paved, partially paved and gravel side roads access two information centers, two campgrounds, several trails and other developed facilities. These routes are usually open to use by passenger vehicles driven carefully, but all are subject to occasional flash-flood damage. Visitors are safest using higher-clearance vehicles. Stay off side roads unless you have four-wheel drive.

Interstate 15 on the west, U.S. Highway 95 on the east and Interstate 40 on the south provide access to several routes into Mojave National Preserve. Since there are no services within the preserve, start with a full gas tank and carry extra water, a good spare tire and the tools and knowledge to change a tire.

The closest access from Las Vegas is by way of I-15 between Mountain Pass and Baker, Calif., on Cima Road or from the Searchlight cutoff south of Primm, where you turn off before Nipton, Calif., on a paved mine road that also leads to the old railroad settlement of Cima. Head south from Cima on Kelso Road to reach the preserve’s main information station in the restored Kelso Depot. The handsome mission-style railroad depot contains displays, an introductory film, refurbished rooms, a gift shop and an art gallery. Its little cafe in the waiting room is currently closed.

You can reach the interior of the preserve by turning on Cedar Canyon Road about 4½ miles south of Cima. This gravel road meets up with mostly unpaved Black Canyon Road after a few scenic miles. About a mile before you reach this junction, the road passes Mid-Hills Campground, established in a forest of pinyons and junipers that was scorched by a 2005 wildfire. Turn south on Black Canyon Road to reach the second developed campground at a dramatically eroded area called Hole-in-the-Wall. This area has a visitor center and bookstore, open on weekends, picnic area and equestrian facilities adjacent to a tent and RV campground. All campsites in the preserve are available on a first-come basis for a minimal charge per night.

For visitors who enjoy exploring old roads and trails, the Mojave National Preserve contains more than 1,000 miles of old overland trails, roads into ranching areas and rough tracks once used to reach area mines. Historic Mojave Road traverses the area, much of it open to ATVs and four-wheel-drive vehicles. Built by the U.S. Army in the 1800s for access from Arizona across the desert into California, the route was guarded by a series of small military outposts, all now in ruins.

There are several developed hiking trails of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty. Some are also open to equestrian use. A few of the most popular trails begin near the two campgrounds, including one long trail that links the two camping developments. There are also a few loop trails, each several miles long.

A favorite with many visitors, a short but daring route descends into the Hole-in-the-Wall to reach Banshee Canyon. At Zzyzx, an oasis on Cima Road, visitors stroll a short, easy trail around a lake with exhibits detailing the cultural history of the site, a 1940s health retreat now used for desert studies by the California State University system.

Many other routes are best suited to experienced hikers since they are not well-marked or improved. Hikers should be properly conditioned, well-equipped and protected from the sun. They should carry at least a gallon of water each. Tell a ranger or someone at home where you are going. Cellphone coverage is spotty. Carry a detailed map because GPS systems can be unreliable in this remote area.

Margo Bartlett Pesek’s Trip of the Week column appears on Sundays.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Skybar at Waldorf Astoria lets you sip your way through Las Vegas history
Skybar At Waldorf Astoria Lets You Sip Your Way Through Las Vegas History (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stan Lee in Las Vegas for Madame Tussauds unveiling
Stan Lee Las Vegas speaks with the Review-Journal's Chris Lawrence about his love for his fans and shared universes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ultimate Belgium Waffle Sundae at Lavo
Lavo at the Palazzo serves a 16-scoop ice cream sundae that costs $800. (Rochelle Ricahrds, Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel lLas Vegas Review-Journal)
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"The Lion King" roars into Las Vegas
New music club 172 brings loud luxury to Las Vegas
New music venue at the Rio brings rock ’n’ roll and food together at intimate club. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fans fear for Zak Bagans’ safety in Las Vegas Halloween TV special
Fly Linq zip line time lapse
Fly Linq zip line timelapse
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu (Al Mancini Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Life
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Interfaith Amigos speak in Las Vegas
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Meadows School founding kindergarten teacher retires after 34 years at the school
Linda Verbon, founder of the The Meadows School's kindergarten program and the first faculty member hired at the school, retired in the spring after 34 years at The Meadows. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like