Kelso Dunes- Mojave National Preserve

Directions:  About 42 miles southeast of Baker, Ca  (7 miles south of Kelso Depot) then 3 miles west on a graded dirt road. Take I-15 to Kelbaker, make a right and just keep going until you get to Kelso Dunes Rd.  You can also reach Kelso Dunes off  Hwy 40, follow Kelbaker thru the Preserve, make a left onto Kelso Dunes Rd (approx. 20 miles).

Everything you want to know about Kelso Dunes- . It’s fascinating trust me!

My Adventure: I saw the exit for Kelso Dunes on the I-40 heading toward Laughlin. I was on a 6 day vacation and made a mental note to hit this hike on my way back to Los Angeles. I am SO glad I did. The Mojave Preserve is absolutely gorgeous and listening to some smooth jazz while driving to my destination added just the right amount of atmosphere…

Turning on to the dusty, dirt road- I was a little concerned about my tires but drove the speed limit of 25 and found that I was able to take in all the beauty around me at that speed. Pulling into the parking area, I was happy to see a bathroom (yay!) and other hikers cars- so I was secure knowing that I wouldn’t be alone on this adventure!


The trail is well marked     and it starts out as a combination of sand and rock which is very easy to walk on.

Don’t let the the ease of the the beginning of the trail fool you- it gets a lot rougher. Why? Because you hit the finest, deepest sand in the universe about 1/4 mile into the hike! (*Huff-Puff*). It’s listed on many sites as a 2 hour hike. Since the sun was going down and the wind was blowing HARD, I decided to just walk on to the dunes for a 1/2 hour- rest for a bit, take some pictures and then take my happy ass back to the car. The wind was blowing against me but I trudged on. After a 1/2 hour of EXTREMELY HARD, SALMON SWIMMING UP STREAM AGAINST THE WIND CURRENT CARDIO- I was done and decided it was time to play in the sand!

Just in case you forgot what I look like…

When you climb up the dunes and then run back down, the wind hits your tracks and makes it sound like the Dunes are singing. Incredibly Haunting and amazingly beautiful…

The sand is so fine, it’s like dust. When you sift it through your fingers you can actually feel how soft it is. I wish you could touch it through the computer- you’d never believe it!


After taking these shots, I headed back to the car. Before I left, I sat on the hood for about 10 minutes and listened to the Dunes. If you’re looking for a Cathartic Experience, might I suggest a day at the Dunes? It did more for me than I could begin to explain…

The Facts:

Winter or Spring would be the best time to visit. It’s the DESERT- IT’S HOT– keep that in mind when planning your adventure!

Kid Friendly: Yes

Handicap access: No

Dog Friendly: Not Sure

Cell Service: No


  • Hiking boots or sturdy tennis shoes
  • Dress in layers. It maybe cold or hotter then where you started out from
  • Bring tons of water
  • A snack for after the hike is always nice

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