Kelso Dunes in the Mojave National Preserve are one of the largest (45 square miles) and tallest (700 feet) sand dunes in the North America. They are considered young created in the last 25,000 years by climate change and are often called the 'Singing Dunes' for the booming noise created by sliding sands. Run down a dune and listen for the rumble. A moderate 3 mile round-trip trail takes you to the top of the highest dune and is perfect for solitude seekers.
Cima is a ghost town located in the Mojave National Preserve. Founded in 1900 with the opening of a store and later post office in 1905, H.C. Gibson's made the town famous because he did not pump gas for his customers making this the original self-service station. The Union Pacific Railroad passes the lazy town each day on its historic route. Cima is also the heart of the largest and densest Joshua Tree grove on Earth.
Wild Horse Canyon Road is a scenic drive through the Mojave National Preserve. This dirt drive is a true experience of solitude as is winds along the secluded canyon. Beautiful mountains full of desert cacti reveal vista points of genuine Mojave desert terrain. *Watch for free roam cattle and 4 wheel drive strongly recommended
Teutonia Peak is an amazing trail in the heart of the Mojave National Preserve. This 3 mile round-trip hike to the top winds through the largest and densest Joshua Tree forest on Earth. Sweeping views of Mojave Desert terrain including the symmetrical Cima Dome soar for miles as this peak tops out at 5,755 feet.
The Kelso Depot stands brilliantly in the middle of the Mojave National Preserve. Now a visitor center for the park, the depot has been a desert landmark since opening in 1923. It was an important railroad service stop for the Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad and was crucial during World War II for the war effort delivering key goods via Union Pacific. The National Park Service saved the depot from demolition when abandoned after passenger service ended in 1964 and restored it to its original glory. It continues to be a beacon of light for travelers in the desolate, yet stunning Mojave Desert.
The wild rock formations of the Granite Mountains in the Mojave National Preserve are out of this world. Exotic eroded shapes are a wonderland for the imagination. The highest peak at 6,796 ft make it an area rich in biodiversity and lies within a transition zone for the Mojave Desert, Sonoran Desert, Great Basin Desert and Colorado Plateau.
Banshee Canyon at Hole-in-the-Wall in Mojave National Preserve is a beautiful canyon with endless exploration possibilities. The canyon was named after the sound of the wind as it blew across the canyon sounding to early settlers like a Banshee from Irish Mythology. The colorful rocks were formed by volcanic eruptions several million years ago. Adjacent is a great visitor center highlighting many sights of the Mojave. *Dirt road access
Cinder Cone National Natural Landmark is a series of lava flows in the Mojave National Preserve. Surrounded by 32 small volcanoes known as cinder cones, this natural landmark has been erupting for 7.6 million years with the most recent occurring only 10,000 years ago. The lava cooled and emptied leaving behind a cave called a Lava Tube.
Today, a stairwell descends into the tube allowing the visitor to explore this geologic wonderland. The Lava Tube can be accessed by a 5 mile drive on Aiken Mine Road. Use extreme caution as this is a rough gravel road. 4 wheel drive recommended.
Zzyzx is the former site of Zzyzx Mineral Springs & Health Spa in the Mojave National Preserve. Curtis Howe Springer founded the spa in 1944 naming it Zzyzx so that it would become the very last word in the dictionary. He claimed his hot springs could heal all health problems. The springs were actually just faked by warming the water with a boiler and adding herbs! The government caught up with Springer in the 60's and the Resort was shut down. California State University built a Desert Studies Center here in the 70's while all that remains of the resort are ghostly ruins. A car graveyard is the highlight of the ruins.