p 17 Mile Point
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Mojave National Preserve - Mojave Road

Seventeen Mile Point


17 Mile Point is the approximate halfway point on the Mojave Road between Soda Springs and Marl Springs. Just west of the point is a dry camp where pioneers and freighters would stop for the night. The route was especially challenging for travelers heading east toward the Colorado River. The road was sandy, hard on mules, livestock, and people alike. There was little, if any, grass for livestock to feed on the climb to Marl Springs.

Seventeenmile Point

In 1859 the U.S. Army established Fort Mojave on the east bank of the Colorado north of Needles to guard the important river crossing at the Mojave Villages. The Mojave (or Old Government) Road came into being to link the fort with the Port of Los Angeles. Supplies, troops, and mail traveled over this route, with many heavy wagons traveling eastward. The portion from Soda Springs (now Zzyzx) to Marl Springs was approximately 35 miles, the longest waterless stretch on the trail. It also gained 3,000 feet in elevation over this distance, much of the way over deep, soft sand. This northern-most spur of Old Dad Mountain, midway between the two waterholes, was known as Seventeenmile Point. In an attempt to avoid the worst of the desert heat, heavily laden supply wagons would typically leave Soda Springs at night, make a dry camp nearby, and continue on the next day to the dependable water at Marl Springs.

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