Mojave National Preserve


On October 18, 2009, while returning home from a trip that included the Edwards AFB air show and an evening in Primm, Nevada, we took a day long side trip to the Mojave National Preserve. Located in the eastern portion of the California Mojave, between I-15 and I-40, the Preserve encompasses some 1.6 million acres. It is accessible by passenger car from several points along both interstates. From I-15: Zzyzx Road 6 miles southwest of Baker (accesses the Zzyzx Desert Studies Center only); Kelbaker Road at Baker; Cima Road in Shadow Valley (between Halloran Summit and Mountain Pass); and Nipton Road east of Mountain Pass. From I-40: Kelbaker Road north of Amboy; Essex Road north of Essex; and Lanfair Road at Goffs. Access for EXPERIENCED 4-WHEELERS ONLY: the Preserve is accessible from the west via the Old Mojave Road where it crosses Rasor Road; and from the east via the Old Mojave Road where it crosses Highway 95 between Palm Gardens and Goffs Road.

The Preserve contains several campgrounds; however gasoline and other automotive services, as well as grocery and drug stores are not available in the Preserve. Plan accordingly. Motel accomodations can be found in Barstow, Baker, Primm, and probably numerous other locations on Interstates 15 and 40.

Trust us, a visit to the Mojave National Preserve is a must for those who love the desert.

NOTICE: On our latest visit we found that the Beanery at Kelso Depot is now closed, though the visitor center and restroom facilities are still open. So, if you make the trip to Kelso Depot, consider packing a lunch and water. The visitor center is closed a couple days during the week, so be sure you check ahead of time to make sure it will be open when you make your visit. The Preserve itself remains open seven days per week. Effective October 4, 2015, Kelso Depot hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m Thursday through Monday, but there is no food service of any kind available at Kelso Depot. Check here for the latest information on visitor center hours and any updates on food service. We will keep the pictures of the Beanery you see below as it was when it was open.

(Above) The Beanery at Kelso Depot. Now closed.


(Above) The menu. But the Beanery is no more, and there is no food service of any kind at Kelso Depot. Pack a lunch if you make a visit.


(Above) The Beanery sign as it was. The Beanery has since closed and there is no restaurant or food service at Kelso Depot. There's a nice picnic ground as you see, and good restroom facilities to the left out of the picture, as well as inside the depot. Kelso Depot is an excellent lunch spot if you pack your own lunch, and well worth the drive.

This journal is going to be a bit different from the others we've presented over the years. First of all, we're not going to spend much more time describing the Mojave National Preserve. For that information, we direct you to the park's website here. Their information will be much more up-to-date and accurate than ours. Second, we're not going to provide much of a narrative at all. We were more interested during this visit in getting some good, fine art quality photographs (which we succeeded in doing in a few cases; you be the judge), so we didn't spend much time on documentation. Instead we're going to present this journal as a photo essay rather than the travelogue style you've been used to in the other journals on this site. We'll be presenting both color and black and white work. We hope you like it. As are all of our journals, this one is a permanent work in progress, so check back periodically to see if we've added anything new.