Cima, CA-2015

Exploring The Mojave National Preserve

In 1994, the Mojave National Preserve was established through the California Desert Protection Act. It is more than just a desert – it is a diverse natural wonder capable of hosting seasonal temperatures and sustaining rare desert plant and animal life. Summer temperatures range from 90 to 105 degrees, while the winter carpets the Mo- jave with snow as temperatures dip into the 20s. Blankets of beautiful wildflowers awaken the barren desert in March and April. The geology of the Mojave National Preserve is amazing, with mountain ranges, great mesas, cactus gardens, cin- der cones, domes, lava flows, majestic sand dunes, and the largest Joshua tree forest. But don’t be fooled by its sparse landscape. Birds, lizards, bighorn sheep, jack rab- bits, roadrunners, gila monsters, bobcats, and desert tor- toises are seen during daylight hours, but there are many other animals who come out only at night to avoid the blistering heat. Bats, owls, mountain lions, foxes, skunks, and others are most active when the sun goes down. It’s a good idea to fill up on food and gas before entering the Mojave National Preserve. Restaurants and gas sta- tions are available in the towns of Baker, Nipton, Primm, Fenner and Ludlow. Kelbaker Road, a 56-mile paved road that connects Kelso and Baker and stretches from I-15 north of Baker to I-40 east of Ludlow, has some interesting places to see along the way. Drive 34 miles south of Baker on Kelbaker Road and you’ll find the Kelso Depot Visitor Center. The center has been restored to its original 1924 appearance, houses exhibits on desert ecology and his- tory, and is now the main information center for the Mo- jave National Preserve. Towering over 600 feet high, the mighty Kelso Dunes can be found 8 miles south of the Kelso Depot. When quantities of sand with the right mois- ture content slides down the steep slopes, the dunes pro- duce a “booming” or “singing” sound.

Instead of driving south of Baker, try going about 26 miles east to the paved Cima Road, which connects I-15 with the town of Cima. This road traverses the Shadow Valley, home to one of the world’s largest Joshua tree forests. The Cima Dome rises 1,500 feet above the desert and can be viewed from the Teutonia Peak Trailhead or Cedar Canyon Road. Obviously, the Mojave National Preserve has much to offer, and plenty of unique photo opportuni- ties await you. For more information, visit

Mojave Desert Heritage & Cultural Association Mission

To research and conserve the natural and cultural history of the Mojave Desert region for the purpose of preserving and sharing these resources in perpetuity. A celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Goffs Schoolhouse was celebrated in October 2014. For additional information, contact: Mojave Desert Heritage & Cultural Association (MDHCA)

37198 Lanfair Road G-15 Essex, CA 92332-9786 e-mail:

Mr. Hugh E. Brown, Executive Director


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