Map of the Mojave National Preserve. Satellite map of the Mojave National Preserve
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Mojave National Preserve
In southeastern California, near Baker
Largely untouched by modern development, this 1.6-million-acre preserve is the meeting place of the Mojave, Great Basin, and Sonoran deserts, and it has a remarkable scenic diversity. In the southern section of the preserve are Joshua trees, cinder cones, and the huge, shimmering Kelso Dunes. In the Mitchell Caverns Natural Preserve you can see all three kinds of cave formations: dripstone, flowstone, and erratics. Hole in the Wall, meanwhile, is an aptly named geologic formation, which offers a challenging climb down a vertical chute (with metal handholds) into the pock-marked Banshee Canyon. There's one small settlement, Cima, within the preserve boundaries. A visitor center in the Kelso Depot is due to open in fall 2004. The preserve was established on October 1, 1994.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
Auto and four-wheel-drive touring (rentals, Barstow, CA, and Las Vegas, NV), hiking, hunting. Facilities: 2 information centers: Baker (72157 Baker Rd.), Hole-in-the-Wall (intersection of Essex and Black Canyon Rds.). Zzyzx Desert Studies Consortium, a California State University field center within the park. Book and map sales areas. Hole-in-the-Wall: picnic tables. Programs & Events: Interpretive talks (on request). Campfire programs (Oct.-Apr.). Tips & Hints: Carry and drink plenty of water, at least one gallon per person per day. Fill gas tank and check fluids and tires before entering preserve. There are privately owned lands within the preserve; respect no trespassing signs. Be cautious of cattle in the road because of open-range grazing: approach slowly and pass quietly. Watch out for snakes, including rattlesnakes, and tarantulas (most commonly seen in fall mating season). Be prepared for strong winds in fall and late winter-early spring. Best times to visit are winter and spring, when temperatures are moderate. Go Mar-May for wildflower blooms.
FOOD, LODGING & SUPPLIES
Camping: In the park: Black Canyon (equestrian/group site; $25; pit toilets), Hole-in-the-Wall (35 sites; $12; pit toilets), Mid Hills (26 sites; $12; pit toilets). Backcountry camping allowed. Hotels: None in park. In Baker: Wills Fargo Motel (72252 Baker Blvd., tel. 760/733-4477; 31 rooms; $37-$68). X Restaurants: None in preserve. In Baker: The Mad Greek (Baker Blvd. at 1-15, tel. 760/733-4354; $5-$ll). Groceries & Gear: None in park. In Nipton: Nipton Trading Post (107-355 Nipton Rd., tel. 760/856-2335).
FEES, HOURS & REGULATIONS
Free. California state hunting license required. No target shooting. Confined or leashed pets only. Don't leave pets unattended or in closed vehicles or trailers in extreme heat. No bicycles or motorized vehicles allowed in wilderness areas. No collecting firewood. Preserve open daily. Baker information center open daily 9-5. Hole-in-the-Wall information center weekends 10-2, as staffing permits.
HOW TO GET THERE
60 mi southwest of Las Vegas, NV, and 60 mi northeast of Barstow, CA, between 1-15 and 1-40. Closest airports: Las Vegas, NV and Ontario, CA(150 mi).
Headquarters, Mojave National Preserve (222 E. Main St., Suite 202, Barstow, CA 92311, tel. 760/255-8801, fax 760/255-8809,). Baker Information Center (Box 241, Baker, CA 92309, tel. 760/733-4040, fax 760/733-4027). Baker Area Chamber of Commerce (Box 131, Baker, CA 92309, tel. 760/733-4469). Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce (222 E. Main St., Suite 216, Barstow, CA 92312, tel. 760/ 256-8617,). Needles Area Chamber of Commerce (Box 705, Needles, CA 92363, tel. 760/326-2050). Zzyzx Desert Studies Consortium (write c/o California State University, Box 6850, Fullerton, CA 92834-6850, tel. 741/278-2428).
Mojave National Preserve. How to get by car to the Mojave National Preserve. How to book a room and its price in the Mojave National Preserve