Rose-colored sand dunes, volcanic cinder cones, Joshua tree forests, and mile-high mountains are all part of the scene at Mojave National Preserve. Located in the heart of the Mojave Desert, this new park was established in 1994 through the California Desert Protection Act. The Preserve encompasses 1.6 million acres of mountains, jumble rocks, desert washes, and dry lakes; outdoor enthusiasts appreciate the opportunity for solitude here not easily found at other southern California parks.
Plant and animal life varies by elevation. Desert tortoises burrow in creosote bush flats, while the black and yellow Scott’s oriole nests in Joshua trees higher up the slopes. Mule deer and bighorn sheep roam among pinyon pine and juniper in the Preserve’s many mountain ranges.
Mojave Desert experiences change with the seasons. Infrequent winter snows sparkle on the mountains. With enough moisture, spring wildflowers carpet the desert with vivid colors. Summers are hot; hikers and campers explore the higher elevations such as Mid-Hills and the New York Mountains. The cooler temperatures of fall mark hunting season. A network of dirt roads offer year round opportunities to explore by 4-wheel drive vehicle.
The Preserve is easily reached via I-15 or I-40 east of Barstow, CA, and west of Needles, CA and Las Vegas, NV. There are six freeway exits that provide visitor access.