Mojave National Preserve
Mojave National Preserve is a 1.6 million-acre
unit of the National Park Service, established
by Congress on October 31, 1994, by the
California Desert Protection Act. The Preserve is a
vast expanse of desert lands that represents a
combination of Great Basin, Sonoran, and Mojave
desert ecosystems. This combination allows a visitor
to experience a wide variety of desert plant life
in combinations that exist nowhere else in the
United States in such proximity.
Located in southern California, the desert area is
a land of mountain ranges, sand dunes, great
mesas and extinct volcanoes. Mojave contains
several diverse mountain ranges, the Kelso dune
system, dry lakebeds and evidence of volcanic
activity (domes, lava flows, cinder cones). Plant
and animal life complement the geological features.
Mojave contains the largest Joshua tree
forest in the world. Providence Mountain State
Recreation Area (Mitchell
Caverns), the University of
California’s Granite Mountains
Natural Reserve, and California
State University’s Soda Springs
Desert Studies Center at Soda
Springs are also within the park
Mojave is bounded to the north and south by
major interstate highways, I-15 and I-40. The
Nevada–California stateline makes up most of the
eastern boundary. Located about half way
between Las Vegas and Joshua Tree National Park,
it is an area that many people have seen through
their windshields, but few have taken time to
Of the Preserve’s 1.6 million acres, about 700,000
acres are designated wilderness. In addition,
about half is designated as critical habitat for the
federally listed threatened desert tortoise.
Evidence of the early human uses includes archeological
sites, possibly dating back to 12,000
years. Historic features, such as mail and
trade/travel routes, ranching, farming, and mining,
are abundant and often well preserved. The
old Union Pacific train depot at Kelso serves as a
wonderful reminder the railroading hey-days of
the 1920s. The collection of buildings at Soda
Springs, called Zzyzx, built by Curtis H. Springer
also has a remarkably interesting tale to tell of
this most unusual man. These two features and
many more, such as Fort Piute, Government
Holes, and Ivanpah town sites add to the very
rich history of the Preserve.
- Mojave National Preserve protects an extensive
unique to the Mojave Desert and is the best
place to experience this
- Mojave National Preserve contains outstanding
scenic resources, rich in visual diversity containing
a varied landscape of
sand dunes, mountain
lava flows, cinder cones,
Joshua tree forests,
and far-reaching vistas.
- The Joshua tree forest of Cima Dome and
Shadow Valley is the largest and densest population
of Joshua trees in the world.
- The Preserve is internationally known as a place
to conduct desert research, and its lands are
known for their geological features such as Cima
Dome, the Cinder Cones, and the
- Mojave is a naturally quiet desert environment
with very dark night skies that offers visitors and
researchers opportunities for natural quiet, solitude
and star gazing with few human caused
noise or light glare sources.
- The Mojave Desert has a long cultural history as
a travel corridor across a harsh and foreboding
desert, linking different areas in the Southwest.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries,
railroads were constructed in this historic transportation
corridor; more recently,
modern interstate highways
traverse the area.
- Mojave National Preserve protects many significant
rock art sites
that provide evidence of
early Native American
use of the Mojave Desert.
- Mojave National Preserve protects numerous historic
sites from early mining, ranching, homesteading
and railroading endeavors that serve as
reminders of the bold and tough people that
opened the harsh and forbidding western frontier.
Kelso Depot is associated with the early
20th century heyday of the great steam locomotives
and the establishment of the final major
rail crossings of the Mojave Desert. The Kelso
Depot, built in 1924, is a rare surviving example
of a combined depot, railroad restaurant, and
employees’ rooming house.
Flora & Fauna
The wildlife and vegetative resources of Mojave National Preserve reflect the mingling of ...
Photos of Points of Interest
Photos of points of interest in the Mojave National Preserve.
History in the Mojave Preserve
The history of the eastern Mojave prior to systematic federal management is long and varied. ...
The geology of Mojave National Preserve is very complex and diverse due to ...
Landforms in the Mojave Preserve
How sand dunes, dry lakes and other natural features have been created.
Satellite Map & Index
source - NPS
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