Being a preserve, Mojave National Preserve lacks a few of the facilities you would find in Joshua Tree or Death Valley, but this absence creates the opportunity for a more intimate visit with the desert.
For the traditionalists (those who like camping near a bathroom), Mojave National Preserve has a couple standard campgrounds. For more adventurous campers, Mojave offers a unique experience akin to wilderness car camping. Roadside camping is permitted in areas that are “traditionally used for this purpose” which means, if you turn down a dirt road and see a fire ring and a spot to put up a tent, you can camp there! This option offers you immediate access to your vehicle while you enjoy the seclusion of wilderness camping. There is a large roadside camping area near the Kelso Dunes and perhaps hundreds of other single sites spread throughout this 1.6 million acre park.
These “sites” are both listed and unlisted so ask a ranger for recommendations. All roadside camping is free. The map below show the location of the maintained campgrounds and also a few of the roadside camping options.
Sunrise in the Mojave Desert
Campgrounds in Mojave National Preserve
Hole-in-the-Wall Campground | 37 sites | first-come first-serve | $12 per night | potable water, picnic tables, fire rings, and pit toilets | elevation 4,400 feet
Mid Hills Campground | 26 sites | first-come first-serve | $12 per night | potable water, picnic tables, fire rings, and pit toilets | elevation 5,600 feet
Providence Mountains State Recreation Area | 6 sites | first-come first-serve | $12 per night | potable water, picnic tables, fire rings, and flush toilets | elevation 4,300
The location of each campground can be viewed on the map below:
Or view California Desert trails and campgrounds in a larger map
Hikes in Mojave National Preserve
This out and back hike crosses the world's densest Joshua tree forest, passing an abandoned silver mine to reach a rocky summit with views of Cima Dome.
|3.4 - 4 miles|
|390||New York Peak|
This out and back hike summits the highest point of the New York Range in the northeast corner of the preserve.
|7 - 9 miles|
This short out and back hike drops underground into an old lava tube lit by holes in the surface.
|410||Petroglyphs near Seventeen Mile Point|
This faint path visits ancient engravings in the volcanic rock at the western rim of the cinder fields just off Kelbaker Road.
|417||Rock Spring Loop Trail|
This loop visits a rare desert spring, a Rock House built in the 1920s, a miners' mill site, and an old U.S. Army post on a short and scenic circuit.
|420||Hole-in-the-Wall Rings Trail|
This loop takes visitors through a landscape of pocketed rocks. Ringbolts allow fun passage through narrow canyons.
|0.5 - 1.5 miles|
This off trail trek summits a peak with commanding views over the Providence Mountains.
This out and back hike climbs the highest point in this 45 square mile dune field.
This out and back hike summits a 6,365-foot peak in the Granite Mountains.
This out and back hike travels up and into a volcanic crater near Mojave National Preserve.
|Death Valley National Park|
There are nine campgrounds spread throughout this large park to facilitate your visit.
|Joshua Tree National Park|
There are nine campgrounds with 500 total sites spread throughout the park to facilitate your visit.
|Anza-Borrego Desert State Park|
The biggest state park in California has four developed campgrounds, eight primitive campgrounds, and as much roadside camping as you could ever want.