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Mojave National Preserve offers pristine and untouched desert beauty. Don’t let the arid environment fool you — the park is home to flourishing wildlife, like mice, roadrunners, snakes, hawks, and lizards, to name a few, alongside a wide variety of flora.
Epic desert cliffs and rock formations comprised of red rock add bright pops of color into an otherwise monochromatic expanse. These colorful formations served as important markers for team freight wagons around 1870. In fact, the area is rich in history, with a number of protected paleontology sites, including petroglyphs in the El Paso Mountains made by the Kawaiisu peoples. The sites also protect the remains of an abandoned 1850s mine.
The dry and peaceful winters bring dormancy to most of the plants and flowers. In summer, after the rains, the ground is transformed into a tapestry of colors as flowering plants burst to life. Mojave National Preserve is a popular destination year-round for those who don’t mind risking the (occasional) rainy season. It's a peaceful getaway that clears the mind and offers a welcome escape from city life.
This expansive tract offers so many outdoor activities that it's hard to know where to start. Off-roading is a firm favorite with adventurous Mojave National Preserve campers. The Lava Tube is a beautiful underground cave illuminated by light. This area is accessible with a four-wheel-drive vehicle via Aiken Road. However, with limited cell service and the fickle nature of technology, the park recommends carrying a map with you at all times. It's not recommended to rely solely on a GPS navigation system. Before setting off into this desert landscape, make sure you have all the tools and equipment you'll need.
Those who would rather explore on foot will want to grab a trail map and plan to trek one of the preserve's developed trails. The Hole-in-the-Wall Nature Trail meanders for half a mile and offers the chance to spot some of the region's native plants. Thrillseekers will find a challenge on the Rings Loop Trail, which involves some scrambling up steep ascents.
The winter and spring months are often very dry and afford few plant species enough water to grow and thrive. However, when there's a wealthy downpour for a few weeks, the ground responds with enthusiastic jubilations, covering every square foot with a riot of color. Some of the most popular flower sightings include the desert five-spot, the desert paintbrush, the beavertail cactus, and several succulent flowers and cactus blooms.
A number of exciting ranger programs are also available seasonally and usually start in September. These talks cover a cultural overview of the area’s history as well as some interesting information on the natural surroundings.
Mojave National Preserve offers campers a variety of camping options, including roadside, backpacking, and RV camping in established campgrounds. Camping in an RV is best done at one of the two developed family campgrounds: Hole in the Wall Campground and Mid Hills Campground. These facilities are equipped with potable water, picnic tables, vault toilets, fire rings, and trash cans. Hookups aren't available here, and drinking water isn't always provided, so be sure to pack plenty in your camper. If you don't have your own rig, you can book an RV in San Bernardino County.
RV camping at Mojave National Preserve is only permitted in designated camping areas. Setting up camp, even in an RV rental, places strain on an area previously devastated by wildfires. As a result, you'll want to check current conditions when planning your camping trip; some areas are not accessible for RVs.
The preserve welcomes pets as well as horses, provided that you keep them restrained and clean up their waste at all times.
Near Mojave National Preserve, just across the California-Nevada state line, is the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which offers exciting activities for the whole family. The lake is a welcome break from the arid landscape, and activities such as boating, fishing, swimming, and hiking are popular here. It's also a wonderful destination for photography enthusiasts, with a plethora of rare wildlife and plants that have adapted to the harshest conditions.
Renting an RV is an excellent way to explore the abundance of national parks near the Mojave area, including Afton Canyon Natural Area and Death Valley National Park. The region’s rich cultural background will give history fanatics an adventure-packed trip for the weekend or for a week. Another noteworthy attraction nearby is the Mojave Air and Space Port.
If you need gas or groceries, you'll find a few convenience stores along the Interstate in Baker and Primm. Just make sure to fuel up the rig before heading to the campground.