Winter in the Mojave National Preserve

From the archives: December 2013 “Desert Rats” Mojave National Preserve

The Mojave National Preserve is sandwiched between Hwy 15 and Hwy 40.  Much like it’s little and more popular brother Joshua Tree National Park it has plenty of rocks, lava tubes, and the namesake Joshua trees.  Head here to escape the crowds of the Indio desert and enjoy the serenity and expanse of the Mojave.

Getting there: option 1 – from LA/OC take Hwy 15 North to Hwy 40 exit Cima Rd

option 2 – from LA/OC take Hwy 15 North exit Kelbaker Rd.

We did option 1 and camped off Cima Rd on Teutonia mound near Kessler spring

Google Earth Pin  <– click that for the dispersed camping spot. Located halfway between Hwy 40 and the Cima store.

Going south of Cima road the turnoff is at the large rock outcropping with a white cross. You can’t camp here because it’s private property but just beyond the desert is fair game. I parked the trailer on it’s maiden voyage to encircle the camp with a large rock outcropping to create a wind break and to reflect the night’s campfire for more heat since this was winter time.


We set out exploring the area and intending to bag Kessler peak.

The desert is deceiving in the winter. 50 degrees in the shade, 75 degrees in the sun, windchill of 40 degrees. We pushed on to Kessler peak and enjoyed the view of the Ivanpah Mountains.


The dogs enjoyed the romp.

Adam specializes in wild edibles (he’s a high school science teacher). We tasted the fruits of the desert: juniper berries.


We headed back to camp to watch the sun set over the mountains. With each minute the sun would steep the next range in another shade of purple and gold.

Yukon Cornelius and his Woman

Last stop before heading home we swung by Cima to see the junk yard and general store. By summer this place will be bustling but for now it’s just us and the rusted piles of steel waiting to be reclaimed into the desert.



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