"Desert Solitude in Southern California"*"Singing sand dunes, volcanic cinder cones, Joshua tree forests, and carpets of wildflowers are all found at this 1.6 million acre park. A visit to its canyons, mountains and mesas will reveal long-abandoned mines, homesteads, and rock-walled military outposts. Located between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Mojave provides serenity and solitude away from the crowds of major metropolitan areas."Our week-long trip began at Nipton, California with a stay at the historic (1904) Hotel Nipton. We explored the preserve by 4WD Jeep and XTerra (and on foot) in a generally counter-clockwise direction. The photo galleries are organized in sequence by region, with an overview map highlighting in yellow the areas we explored.
We drove about 400 miles of the 2,200 miles of mostly unpaved, often unmaintained, and frequently washed-out roads of the preserve. Many of the roads were built only to provide access to mines. The condition of the roads seemed to be generally proportionate to the success of the mine. We often needed 4WD low range to negotiate the steep and rocky access roads. Even roads that were mostly suitable for automobiles had stretches washed out by flash floods.
While much of the preserve is accessible by automobile, if you want to really experience all that the preserve offers, you will need short wheelbase, high clearance 4WD (or trail bike) and sturdy hiking shoes. There are no fuel stations, no grocery stores, and not many places with drinking water within the preserve. With the exception of a few NPS campgrounds, all camping is primitive with no facilities other than perhaps a rock fire ring. All of which, of course, makes the Mojave National Preserve such a rare and special place to visit.
*Source: National Park Service http://www.nps.gov/moja/