Originally opened in 1924 as a train station, Kelso Depot is an old two-story Union Pacific train station built in the 1920s in the Spanish style. The depot narrowly escaped demolition in the 1980s before being taken over by the National Park Service, renovated, and reopened in 2005 as the visitor center for Mojave National Preserve. Former dormitory rooms contain exhibits describing the cultural and natural history of the surrounding desert. The baggage room, ticket office, and two dormitory rooms have been historically furnished to illustrate life in the depot in the first half of the twentieth century. A 20-minute orientation film is shown in the theater. Downstairs. the Desert Light Gallery features rotating fine art collections by local artists, focusing on the cultural history and natural splendors of Mojave national Preserve.
The massive Kelso Dunes are easily accessible by car (no four-wheel-drive needed). Second highest sand dunes in California, up to 700 feet. They are created from wind that carries dust and is reflected off a mountain. Beyond their large size, these dunes also have a phenomena called "singing" or "booming" dunes. When the moisture content is right in the sands, they emit a low thrumming sound as sand slides down the slope. Try running down the slope of a dune to trigger the sound. From the parking area, the dunes do not appear to be very far away or very large. This is an optical illusion. Allow at least an hour to climb to the top of the nearest dune.
(year round) Surrounded by sculptured volcanic rock walls, the Hole-in-the-Wall Campground is at 4,400 feet elevation. The 35 campsites are large enough for motorhomes and trailers. Two walk-in tent sites are also available. Facilities include pit toilets, picnic tables, fire rings, trashcans, and drinkable water. There are no utility hookups but there is a dump station. Spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis for $12 per site per night. Fees for Golden Age/Access Passport holders are $6 per site per night.
Nestled in pinyon pine and juniper trees at 5,600 feet, Mid Hills Campground is much cooler than the desert floor below. The road to the campground is not paved and is not recommended for motorhomes or trailers. There are 26 campsites with picnic tables and fire rings. Pit toilets, trashcans, and drinkable water are provided. Spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis for a $12 per site per night fee. Fees for Golden Age/Access Passport holders are $6 per site per night.
Offers six campsites on a first-come, first-served basis. Cave tours of the Mitchell Caverns attract many people. This is a small campground that is entirely surrounded by the Preserve, though administratively not part of it. The location is on an east-facing mountain ledge with beautiful views and sunrises, where the wind can sometimes be quite fierce.
Cave tours at the Mitchell Caverns in the Providence Mountains State Recreation Area (administratively not part of the Preserve, but entirely surrounded by it) '''Closed due to infrastructure issues, but expected to reopen some time in 2015'''.
A broad sloping upland dome, the erosional remnant of granite plutons that formed deep under the Earth's surface. Best viewed from Teutonia Peak Trail that leads through the densest concentration of Joshua Trees in the world.
(year round) Located directly across the road from Hole-in-the-Wall Ranger Station and Campground. Facilities include pit toilets, water, and a picnic shelter with tables. Reservations are $25 per night.
This information center offers basic orientation, as well as a 12-minute film about the preserve. There is also a bookstore, restroom, water and telephone available.
A dry lake bed used for land sailing located just outside of the preserve boundaries on BLM managed land.