1994: National Preserve
About the SiteThis huge preserve is the meetingplace of three great ecosystems: the Mohave, the Great Basin, and the Sonoran Deserts. Mohave National Preserve holds a great scenic diversity. There are Joshua trees, cinder cones and the Kelso Dunes to the south; in the Mitchell Caverns Natural Preserve are several types of cave formations; and Hole-in-the-Wall offers a challenging climb down a vertical chute into Banshee Canyon.
What You're Going to SeeThis is a largely undeveloped area, so come prepared. There are a few privately owned areas; the largest is tiny Cima. Temperatures in the summer can be extreme, so make sure your vehicle is running properly, and bring a gallon of water per person per day for your trip. There is no off-road driving allowed; all vehicles must be street-legal. Climates vary throughout the Preserve, as does the elevation. From a low of 800 feet above sea level near Baker, the land rises and falls, reaching a peak of 7,929 feet at Clark Mountain. Yearly precipitation ranges from 4 to 14 inches annually.
Personal ObservationsWe managed to drive through a part of the Preserve on our 4-Site trek in March of 2006. A visit to Mojave was an afterthough on this trek, so I didn't get to see much beyond the road from Baker to the Kelso Depot to I-40. Our two-wheel drive Suburban was acting up, and we didn't exactly trust it on dirt roads far from service. As I've mentioned regarding other desert-oriented National Park Sites, I grew up in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, so parts of Mojave looked very familiar and thus less than fascinating. So I acknowledge the possibility of "familiarity breeds contempt" syndrome in giving Mojave only two Subbies.
Getting ThereFrom Las Vegas, drive southwest on I-15 about 44 miles to the Preserve boundary, and turn east for 3 miles to the Ivanpah Road into the Preserve; or, continue west on I-15 for 14 miles to the Cima Road, or for 40 miles to Baker and the Kelbacker Road.
Nearby AttractionsAbout 40 miles to the north lies Death Valley National Park. To the east, Las Vegas-way, you will find Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Grand Canyon National Park, and Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument. 30 or so miles south you'll find Joshua Tree National Park.