Located in California's Mojave Desert between Interstate 15 and Interstate 40 in the southern part of the state, the Mojave National Preserve covers some 1,532,426 acres. Established on October 31, 1994, the Mojave National Preserve includes landscape ranging in elevation from 880 to 7,492 feet.
Visitors to the Mojave Preserve will travel scenic roadways overlooking rose-hued sand dunes, cones formed from volcanic cinder, forests of Joshua trees, and mountain landscapes. Unlike other parks, Mojave rarely sees large crowds and is an excellent spot for the traveler wanting to get away from people and just be with nature.
In the winter the Mojave will at times see a dusting of snow on the mountains while spring (if enough rain falls) can bring a riot of wildflowers to the desert. Summers are blistering hot and visitors to Mojave are better off staying in the higher elevations. The milder temperatures of winter are always a welcome change.
The Baker-Kelso-Cima-Primm drive takes about an hour and is a highly recommended scenic route. When heading northeast (toward Las Vegas, Nevada) on I-15 exit at Baker on Kelbaker. You'll drive 34 miles to Kelso. The former Kelso railroad depot has been turned into a visitor's center and museum if you choose to stop.
Turn north on Kelso-Cima Road, a route that will take you past the Providence Mountains. Nineteen miles up the road you will find the Cima Store where cold drinks and snacks may be purchased. Next bear right on Morning Star Mine Road which will take you to the Ivanpah Valley. Twenty-two miles later take a left on Nipton Road and you will emerge back on I-15 four miles later.
Along this scenic route you will see lava flows, cinder cones, Joshua trees and mountain landscapes. This is but one of the beautiful outings available in the Mojave National Preserve. Those interested in a 4-Wheel Drive trip should check out the Mojave Road, a one time wagon trail and the major route across the desert until the railroad came through in 1883. Hikers will find a four-mile round trip route to Cima Dome through the Joshua tree forest at Teutonic Peak.
In terms of climate, the Mojave Desert is a land of extremes. In January the mercury may fall as low as eight degrees but climb to one hundred and nineteen or higher in August. Temperatures of one hundred or higher are common from May to October and in July and August will only fall into the nineties at night.
The winds in the late winter and the opening months of spring in the Mojave are intense with twenty-five miles per hour being the norm with gusts reaching seventy-file miles an hour. The most calm months in terms of wind are November, December, and January. For most of the year the humidity in the Mojave is around forty percent.
Between November and April the Mojave receives most of its annual rainfall of five inches. Violent thunderstorms from July to September are not unheard of and May and June are the driest months. During times when the El Nino cycle is active the Mojave Desert will see periods of heavier rainfall and more dense growth of vegetation.