Mojave Desert

The Mojave Desert dominates portions of southeastern California and smaller parts of central California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah and northwestern Arizona. Mojave 4×4 trails offer access to everything this huge desert offers in amazing biodiversity, climates and history which is truly unique. Throughout the area, ghost towns and mines dot this harsh landscape. Typically, the area receives less than 15 inches of rain per year, and temperatures regularly exceed 110 degrees in the summer months.

Kelso Depot, Mojave CA
Kelso Depot, Mojave CA

The single biggest trail in this area is the Old Mojave Road which bisects the area between the I-15 and I-40 highways. The Old Mojave or Old Government road offers any back road traveler the opportunity to travel back in time and explore many of the unique sites within the Mojave. Old mine sites, army camps, and native american petroglyphs dot the landscapes with small hidden treasures.

In addition to the sites, keep an eye out for animals. Big horn sheep, wild donkeys, horses, desert tortoise are just a few of the animals that you might find if you keep an eye out.

The Arargosa Opera House is located in Death Valley Junction, California.
The Arargosa Opera House is located in Death Valley Junction, California.

Additionally, the Mojave desert offers a unique place in history. It is the home of many air place crash sites due to the existence of Edwards Air force base and the X plane testing programs which started in the 1940s and continue to this day. There are over 600 crash sites in the Mojave, some of which are documented here. Should you choose to visit these sites, please remember that someone may have lost their life in this location and show the appropriate respect.

A Petroglyph of a Ram serves notice of a forgotten history in the Mojave 4x4 Trails.
A Petroglyph of a Ram serves notice of a forgotten history in the Mojave 4×4 Trails.

Mojave Trail Map

Mojave 4×4 Trails

California Desert Tortoise emerging from a hiding place...

Achy-Breaky

Achy-Breaky is a very difficult, trail which circumnavigates Watkins Peak in San Bernardino County, California. This trail is one of many on the Stoddard Wells…
A narrow valley on the Empire Wash Trail near Lake Mojave

Empire Wash

Empire wash is a short cut from Cal Nev Ari to the Lake Mead Davis Powerline road through a narrow canyon. This offers great access…
These mine cart rails are a little small to pull the amount of gold claimed to be here.

Kokoweef Mine

The Kokoweef Mine and in fact all of the trails and mines located in the Ivanpah / Mountain Pass area represent exactly why I started…
A horizontal shaft in the Ivanpah Mountains.

Morning Star Mine

Located in the Ivanpah Mountains, the Morning Star Mine is a gold / silver mine located near to California / Nevada border near Mountain Pass.…

Nellis Cove

Nellis Cove Road short east trail from Lake Mead Powerline Road to Nellis Cove on the shore of Lake Mohave, Nevada. The route is fairly…
Government Holes in the central section of the Old Mojave Road.

Old Mojave Road

The Old Mojave Road (Government Road) is an east-west route that enters the Mojave National Preserve off the highway 95 in Nevada, and Afton Canyon…
Sandy Wash offered a nice remote beach to enjoy on Lake Mojave

Sandy Wash

Sandy Wash is a short trail which leads from the Mead Davis Power Line road down to the shore of Lake Mojave, Nevada. We opted…
Silver Star Mine Cabin

Silver Star Mine

The Silver Star Mine is a small mine site located off of the Zinc Mountain Road in San Bernardino County, California.

Mojave Campgrounds

Afton Canyon Campground, Mojave, CA

Afton Canyon Campground

The Afton Canyon Campground offer amazing access and camping for the Old Mojave Road, surroundings areas of the Mojave. The dry, desert campground is found…

Belle Campground

Belle Campground in Joshua Tree National Park Belle Campground is a small campground with 18 campsites located in Joshua Tree National Park in California. Joshua…

Black Rock Canyon Campground

Black Rock Canyon Campground Black Rock Canyon Campground is a large campground with 99 campsites located in the northwest corner of the Joshua Tree National…
Our campsite from a distance in Caruthers Canyon

Camp Phallus – New York Mountains

Located in Caruther's Canyons of the New York Mountains, Camp Phallus is named for a "unique" rock formation visible from the campsite. The campsite offers…

Cottonwood Campground

The Cottonwood Campground is campground located in Joshua Tree National Park in San Bernardino, California. Reservations are required only during the busy season from September…

Hidden Valley Campground

Hidden Valley Campground is location on Joshua Tree National Park The Hidden Valley Campground is an established year round campground location in Joshua Tree National…
A slot canyon begins to form towards the end of the Ring Trail, Mojave National Preserve.

Hole in the Wall Campground

Hole in the Wall campground is found deep in the Mojave National Preserve in San Bernardino County, California. The Campground is a popular location for…

Indian Cove Campground

Indian Cove Campground in Joshua Tree National Park Indian Cove Campground is a campground located in Joshua Tree National Park in San Bernardino county, California.…

Jumbo Rocks Campground

Jumbo Rocks Campground in Joshua Tree National Park Perhaps one of the more popular campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park, Jumbo Rocks Campgronds is located…
Mid Hills Campsite in the Mojave National Preserve March 2018 after a rainstorm.

Mid Hills Campground, Mojave National Preserve

Located in deep in the heart of the Mojave National Preserve there is an abundance of campsites to suit everyone.  The Mid Hills campground was…

Nellis Cove

Nellis Cove Road short east trail from Lake Mead Powerline Road to Nellis Cove on the shore of Lake Mohave, Nevada. The route is fairly…

Ryan Campground

Ryan Campground in Joshua Tree National Park Ryan Campground is a campground located in Joshua Tree National Park in San Bernardino, California and hosts 31…
Sandy Wash offered a nice remote beach to enjoy on Lake Mojave

Sandy Wash

Sandy Wash is a short trail which leads from the Mead Davis Power Line road down to the shore of Lake Mojave, Nevada. We opted…

Sheep Pass Campground

Sheep Pass Group Campground is a group campground located in towards the center Joshua Tree National Park in California. The campground features six group campsites…

White Tank Campground

White Tank Campground is a campground in Joshua Tree National Park and located off Pinto Basin Road in the northern section of the park. White…

Mojave Points of Interest

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve Photo by James L Rathbun. Established in 1976, the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is located just west of Mojave…
Ballarat, California - Marriedtofilm at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Malafaya using CommonsHelper.

Ballarat California

Ballarat, California Located in Inyo County, Ballarat California is a ghost town which supposedly has a few residents living their dream within the town. Ballarat…

Bert Smith’s Cabin

Bert Smith's Cabin overlooks Camp Rock Springs Located deep in the Mojave National Reserve exists a small stone building, known as Bert Smith's Cabin, which…

Camp Rock Springs

A small oasis and valuable water supply along the Old Mojave Road, Camp Rock Springs was the site of a military outpost established on December…
View showing steamboat Cochan on the Colorado River near Yuma, Arizona in 1900 - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Colorado Steamships

From 1852 through 1909, Colorado Steamships ferried people and supplies up and down the Colorado River to mining camps and outposts. Following the discovery of…

Darwin California

Darwin is a unincorporated community, gold mining town and ghost town located in Inyo County, California about 22 miles from Keeler. The town was named…
Evening Star Mine, Mojave, California - 2015 Photo by James L Rathbun

Evening Star Mine

The Evening Star Mine first came to our attention in the winter of 2014, while researching the mining history of the Mountain Pass, CA.
Goffs, CA

Goffs California

Originally known as Blake, Goffs, California is a small unincorporated community located off of Route 66 in the Mojave desert near the Piute Mountains.  Originally…

Goldome Mill

The heavily vandalized Goldome Mill outside of Ivanpah, California The Goldome Mill is an abandoned modern mill site in the New York mountains of San…
Government Holes in the central section of the Old Mojave Road.

Government Holes

The tale of the the Old Mojave Road is the story of water, the more important resource in the desert.  Along the Old Mojave Road…
Kelso Depot, Mojave CA

Kelso Depot

The story of the westward expansion is the story of the railroads.  Beginning in 1862, the Union Pacific Railroad sought expansion opportunities along the western…
These mine cart rails are a little small to pull the amount of gold claimed to be here.

Kokoweef Mine

The Kokoweef Mine and in fact all of the trails and mines located in the Ivanpah / Mountain Pass area represent exactly why I started…
A live stock watering trough in the Mojave Desert.. Photograph by James L Rathbun

Mojave Goldfish

Over Presidents day weekend, my wife and I were travelling back from Big Bear, CA to our house after a visit with family towards our…
A horizontal shaft in the Ivanpah Mountains.

Morning Star Mine

Located in the Ivanpah Mountains, the Morning Star Mine is a gold / silver mine located near to California / Nevada border near Mountain Pass.…

Nelson Nevada and Eldorado Canyon

Rock spires carved by erosion located in Eldorado Canyon, Nelson, Nevada. The ghost town of Nelson, Nevada, which is located in Eldorado Canyon along Lake…
U2's Joshua Tree - 2016

One Tree Hill, A trip to the U2 Joshua Tree

A trip to the U2 Joshua Tree brought back a life time of memories. There was never a point in time that I was not…
Sandy Wash offered a nice remote beach to enjoy on Lake Mojave

Sandy Wash

Sandy Wash is a short trail which leads from the Mead Davis Power Line road down to the shore of Lake Mojave, Nevada. We opted…
Silver Star Mine Cabin

Silver Star Mine

The Silver Star Mine is a small mine site located off of the Zinc Mountain Road in San Bernardino County, California.
The Arargosa Opera House is located in Death Valley Junction, California.

The Amargosa Opera House

Recently, on a whim, my wife and I loaded up the jeep and opt to just explore the desert West of our home town of…
My son Ryan showing the proper technique for climbing the rings, on the Ring Trail, Mojave National Preserve.

The Hole in the Wall Ring Trail

The Hole in the Wall Ring Trail is a short is a 1.5 miles loop trail around a hill top and through a slot canyon…
Ryan climbed to the top of Travelers Monument

Travelers Monument

When travelling the Old Mojave Road, there is a tradition to pick and carry a rock, and carry the rock to the Travelers Monument.  The…
A metal headframe marks a vertical shaft in the mining district outside of Vanderbilt California.

Vanderbilt California

A metal headframe marks a vertical shaft in the mining district outside of Vanderbilt California. Located in the New York Mountains, Vanderbilt California was an…
ake Tuendae, an Oasis in the Mojave Desert is found at the end of Zzyzx Road off the I-15. Photograph by James L Rathbun

Zzyzx Road – Soda springs

Located south of Baker, CA on the edge of a large soda dry lake bed in the Mojave, Zzyzx Road is a short road which…

Mojave Wildflowers

Coyote Melon (Cucurbita palmata)

Coyote Melon (Cucurbita palmata)

Coyote Melon (Cucurbita palmata) Coyote Melon (Cucurbita palmata), also known as Coyote Gourd, is a flowering plant common in the desert southwest and known to…
A Davey Gilia stalk poking up between the California Poppies in the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve.

Davy Gilia (Gilia latiflora)

A Davey Gilia stalk poking up between the California Poppies in the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. Davy Gilia (Gilia latiflora) also known as Hollyleaf gilia…
Desert Marigolds located off the Old Mojave Road.

Desert Marigolds (Baileya multiradiata)

Desert Marigolds photographed near the Old Mojave Road. Desert Marigolds (Baileya multiradiata) are an abundant and well distributed flower across the desert south west. The…
Desert Primrose photographed in Anza Burego, CA

Desert Primrose (Oenothera deltoides)

Desert Primrose photographed in Anza Burego, CA The Desert Primrose ( Oenothera deltoides ) is a small bush-like flowering planet with delicate white flowers.  The primrose ranges…
Mojave-aster ( Xylorhiza tortifolia )

Mojave-aster ( Xylorhiza tortifolia )

Mojave-aster ( Xylorhiza tortifolia ) A member of the sunflower family, the Mojave-aster ( Xylorhiza tortifolia ) boasts a delicate lavender flower in the harsh…
Owl's Clover

Owl’s Clover (Castilleja exserta)

Owls Clover (Castilleja exserta) is a small flowering plant which can grow about 1 foot tall.   The Owl's Clover is a native plant to…

Mohave Ghost Towns and Mine Camps

Ballarat, California - Marriedtofilm at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Malafaya using CommonsHelper.

Ballarat California

Ballarat, California Located in Inyo County, Ballarat California is a ghost town which supposedly has a few residents living their dream within the town. Ballarat…

Darwin California

Darwin is a unincorporated community, gold mining town and ghost town located in Inyo County, California about 22 miles from Keeler. The town was named…
Goffs, CA

Goffs California

Originally known as Blake, Goffs, California is a small unincorporated community located off of Route 66 in the Mojave desert near the Piute Mountains.  Originally…

Nelson Nevada and Eldorado Canyon

Rock spires carved by erosion located in Eldorado Canyon, Nelson, Nevada. The ghost town of Nelson, Nevada, which is located in Eldorado Canyon along Lake…
A metal headframe marks a vertical shaft in the mining district outside of Vanderbilt California.

Vanderbilt California

A metal headframe marks a vertical shaft in the mining district outside of Vanderbilt California. Located in the New York Mountains, Vanderbilt California was an…

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