Mojave National Preserve

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Mojave National Preserve
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
Cima Road-Mojave National Preserve.JPG
Joshua trees along Cima Road in the Mojave National Preserve
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Location San Bernardino County, California, USA
Nearest city Baker, California
Coordinates 34°53′N115°43′W / 34.883°N 115.717°W / 34.883; -115.717 Coordinates: 34°53′N115°43′W / 34.883°N 115.717°W / 34.883; -115.717
Area1,542,776 acres (6,243.39 km2) [1]
CreatedOctober 31, 1994 (1994-October-31)
Visitors787,404(in 2018) [2]
Governing body National Park Service
Website Mohave National Preserve

Mojave National Preserve is a United States National Preserve located in the Mojave Desert of San Bernardino County, California, USA, between Interstate 15 and Interstate 40. The preserve was established October 31, 1994, with the passage of the California Desert Protection Act by the US Congress. [3] Previously, it was the East Mojave National Scenic Area, under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management. [4] At 1,542,776 acres (6,243 km2), it is the third largest unit of the National Park System in the contiguous United States.


Natural features include the Kelso Dunes, the Marl Mountains and the Cima Dome, as well as volcanic formations such as Hole-in-the-Wall and the Cinder Cone Lava Beds. The preserve encloses Providence Mountains State Recreation Area and Mitchell Caverns Natural Preserve, which are both managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Impressive Joshua tree forests are found in parts of the preserve. The forest covering Cima Dome and the adjacent Shadow Valley is the largest and densest in the world. [5] In August of 2020 a wildfire destroyed 1.3 million Joshua Trees around Cima Dome. [6] The ghost town of Kelso is found in the preserve, with the defunct railroad depot serving as the Visitor Center. The preserve is commonly traversed by 4 wheel drive vehicles traveling on the historic Mojave Road.

Climate in the preserve varies greatly. Summer temperatures average 90 °F (32 °C), with highs exceeding 105 °F (41 °C). Elevations in the preserve range from 7,929 feet (2,417 m) at Clark Mountain to 880 feet (270 m) near Baker. Annual precipitation varies from 3.37 inches (86 mm) near Baker, to almost 9 inches (230 mm) in the mountains. At least 25% of precipitation comes from summer thunderstorms. Snow is often found in the mountains during the winter.

Mojave Wilderness

The California Desert Protection Act of 1994 (CDPA) designated a wilderness area within Mojave National Preserve of approximately 695,200 acres (281,300 ha). The National Park Service manages the wilderness in accordance with the Wilderness Act, the CDPA, and other laws that protect cultural and historic sites in the wilderness. [7]



Hole-in-the-Wall canyon MNP Hole in Rock.jpg
Hole-in-the-Wall canyon
The entrance sign alongside Kelbaker Road. Mojave National Preserve sign 1.jpg
The entrance sign alongside Kelbaker Road.

The following climate data is for a higher elevation area in the preserve. See also Climate of the Mojave Desert.

Climate data for Mountain Pass, California. (Elevation 4,740 feet (1,440 m))
Record high °F (°C)71
Average high °F (°C)50.4
Average low °F (°C)29.5
Record low °F (°C)3
Average precipitation inches (mm)0.92
Average snowfall inches (cm)2.7
Source: The Western Regional Climate Center [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

Mojave Desert Desert in the southwestern United States

The Mojave Desert is a xeric desert in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada mountains in the Southwestern United States. It is the smallest and driest desert of the four American deserts. It is named for the indigenous Mojave people. It is located primarily in southeastern California and southwestern Nevada, with small portions extending into Arizona and Utah.

Low Desert

The Low Desert is a common name for any desert in California that is under 2,000 feet in altitude. These areas include, but are not exclusive to, the Colorado Desert and Yuha Desert, in the Southern California portion of the Sonoran Desert. These areas are distinguished in biogeography from the adjacent northern High Desert or Mojave Desert by latitude, elevation, animal life, climate, and native plant communities.

Kelso Dunes

Kelso Dunes, also known as the Kelso Dune Field, is the largest field of aeolian sand deposits in the Mojave Desert. The region is protected by the Mojave National Preserve and is located near the town of Baker, San Bernardino County, California, and the Preserve Visitor Center. The dune field covers 45 square miles (120 km2) and includes migrating dunes, vegetation-stabilized dunes, sand sheets, and sand ramps. The tallest dunes rise up to 650 feet (200 m) above the surrounding terrain.

Providence Mountains

The Providence Mountains are found in the eastern Mojave Desert of San Bernardino County, California, U.S. The range reaches an elevation of 7,162 feet (2,183 m) at Edgar Peak and is home to the Mitchell Caverns Natural Preserve in the Providence Mountains State Recreation Area, and the Mojave National Preserve.

Bristol Mountains

The Bristol Mountains are found in the Mojave Desert of California, USA, just west of Mojave National Preserve. The range, which reaches an elevation of 3,874 feet, is located in San Bernardino County, and crosses Interstate 40 between Ludlow and the Granite Mountains. At the southern end of the range lies the town of Amboy, the Amboy Crater, and Bristol Dry Lake.

Cima, California Unincorporated Community in California, United States

Cima is a small unincorporated community in the Mojave Desert of San Bernardino County, California, in the United States. It lies in a mountain pass on the divide between the Ivanpah Valley and the Mojave River basin, at an elevation of 4,175 feet (1,273 m). The Ivanpah Mountains and Interstate 15 are to the north, the New York Mountains are to the east, and the Providence Mountains are to the south. To the northwest is the Cima volcanic field, which contains Cima Dome at 5,745 feet (1,751 m) above sea level, a prominent landmark along I-15. Cima is also home to one of the densest Yucca brevifolia forests in California, located in the Cima Dome.

Ludlow, California Unincorporated community in California, United States

Ludlow is an unincorporated community in the Mojave Desert on Interstate 40, located in San Bernardino County, California, United States. The older remains of the ghost town are along historic Route 66.

Darwin Falls Wilderness Protected wilderness area in California, United States

The Darwin Falls Wilderness is a protected area in the northern Mojave Desert adjacent to Death Valley National Park. The 8,189-acre (3,314 ha) wilderness area was created by the California Desert Protection Act of 1994 and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Bright Star Wilderness Protected wilderness area in California, United States

Bright Star Wilderness is a 8,190-acre (3,314 ha) wilderness area in Kern County in the U.S. state of California.

Joshua Tree National Park National park of the United States

Joshua Tree National Park is an American national park in southeastern California, east of Los Angeles and near Palm Springs. It is named after the Joshua trees native to the Mojave Desert. Originally declared a national monument in 1936, Joshua Tree was redesignated as a national park in 1994 when the U.S. Congress passed the California Desert Protection Act. Encompassing a total of 790,636 acres – slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island – the park includes 429,690 acres of designated wilderness. Straddling San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, the park includes parts of two deserts, each an ecosystem whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation: the higher Mojave Desert and the lower Colorado Desert. The Little San Bernardino Mountains traverse the southwest edge of the park.

Kelbaker Road is a paved road in San Bernardino County, California, that serves as the primary and busiest route through the Mojave National Preserve. It also connects the communities of Kelso and Baker. Its southern terminus is at County Route 66 between Amboy and Chambless. Kelbaker Road's northern terminus is at Interstate 15 in Baker. The road then continues as California State Route 127 northward to Nevada, connecting to Nevada State Route 373, passing near Death Valley National Park.

Kelso Depot United States historic place

The Kelso Depot, Restaurant and Employees Hotel or Kelso Depot, now also the Mojave National Preserve Visitors Center, is located in the Mojave Desert within the National Park Service Mojave National Preserve, on Kelso Cima Road at the junction of Kelbaker Road in Kelso, California, between Baker and Interstate 15 to the north and Interstate 40 to the south. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and along with the adjacent ghost town of Kelso, was declared a United States Historic District in 2000. The district was increased by a boundary increase approved by the National Park Service in 2019, with reference number 100003401.

Mid Hills

The Mid Hills are a low mountain range in the Mojave Desert, in San Bernardino County, California.

California Desert Protection Act of 1994 US federal law

The California Desert Protection Act of 1994 is a federal law, signed by President Bill Clinton, and passed by the United States Congress on October 8, 1994, that established the Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks and the Mojave National Preserve in the California desert.

Mojave Trails National Monument

Mojave Trails National Monument is a large U.S. National Monument located in the state of California between Interstates 15 and 40. It partially surrounds the Mojave National Preserve. It was designated by President Obama on February 12, 2016 along with Castle Mountains National Monument and Sand to Snow National Monument. It is under the control of the Bureau of Land Management.

Sand to Snow National Monument

Sand to Snow National Monument is a U.S. National Monument located in San Bernardino County and into northern Riverside County, Southern California.

Kelso Wash

Kelso Wash is an ephemeral stream in San Bernardino County, California, United States, that drains into Soda Lake. The town of Kelso lies southeast of the wash.

Cima volcanic field Volcanic field in San Bernardino County, California

Cima volcanic field is a volcanic field in San Bernardino County, California, close to the border with Nevada. The volcanic field covers a surface area of 600 square kilometres (230 sq mi) within the Mojave National Preserve west of the Cima Dome and consists of about 40 volcanic cones with about 60 lava flows. The volcanic cones range from simple cones over multi-cratered mountains to eroded hills, and lava flows are up to 9.1 kilometres (5.7 mi) long. At least one lava tube exists in the field and can be visited.

Cadiz Dunes Wilderness Protected wilderness area in California, United States

Cadiz Dunes Wilderness is a protected wilderness area in the Mojave Trails National Monument in San Bernardino County, California. Established in 1994 by the U.S. Congress, the area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. This wilderness area is north of Joshua Tree National Park, Sheephole Valley Wilderness lies to the west, Old Woman Mountains Wilderness to the east. The dunes of Cadiz Dunes were formed by blowing sands from the Cadiz dry lake, all located in the Cadiz Valley between the Calumet Mountains and the Old Woman Mountains. The ecology is typical of the Mojave Desert with wildlife that includes coyote, black-tailed jackrabbits, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, quail, roadrunners, and rattlesnakes. The area is known for a brilliant display of springtime desert wildflowers including the Borrego milkvetch.


  1. "Listing of acreage as of December 31, 2011" (PDF). Land Resource Division, National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  2. "NPS Annual Recreation Visits Report". National Park Service. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  3. "California Desert Protection Act". Joshua Tree National Park. U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved 2015-08-02.
  4. "Mojave Wilderness". Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  5. "General Management Plan-Introduction" (PDF). National Park Service. p. 7. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  6. They're among the World's Oldest Living Things. The Climate Crisis is Killing Them. New York Times.
  7. "General Management Plan-Land Protection" (PDF). p. 3. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  8. "Seasonal Temperature and Precipitation Information". Western Regional Climate Center. Retrieved March 29, 2013.