Mojave Road

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4.8/5 (56 reviews)
Baker, California (SanBernardino County)
Last Updated: 10/17/2022
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Trail Information

Highlights

Camping Category Icon Camping
Desert Category Icon Desert
Iconic Category Icon Iconic
Mine Category Icon Mine
Overland Category Icon Overland
Sand Category Icon Sand
Wash Category Icon Wash
Filled with oddities, scenic beauty, history, and a sense of adventure it is no wonder that the Mojave Road has such an iconic stature. Formed as an early Native American trade route then an east-west passage for settlers, the road has a long history. Passing through the Mojave Desert Preserve and the Lanfair Valley you are remote and far from civilization. Today it is one of the more famous overland routes in the southwest. Although the road is not at all technical, the sense of adventure you get by being so deep in the desert is what makes it worth the trip.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

The entire 135 miles is made up of mostly a dirt and sand road, miles of whoop-de-doos, or sand moguls, with some rocky areas. The only major obstacle is the Watson Wash drop-in which can be rutted and washed out. In 2016 there was a washout south of Fort Piute, which currently requires you to use a bypass. Time on trail:. Allow a full three days to take in all the desert scenery, the side excursions and pick that perfect camp. If you are short on time, you can drive some sections fairly quickly and make it in two days. Caution: Wet weather could make this overland trail a real nightmare. You cross several washes which pose issues in wet weather, but the true problem in wet weather is the Dry Soda Lake Bed. Staying on course: Various roads intertwine through the entire route. To ensure you are on the correct Mojave Road, always look for the stone cairns. If you are traveling from east to west, the most common route, the cairns will be on the right side of the road. Typically, your base map of your GPS unit will show the Mojave Road as "Government Road". Permits Any groups with 7 or more vehicles (15 or more people) must obtain a special use permit which includes a $69 non-refundable processing fee (at the time of this writing). Permits can be found here. Services: Know your vehicle's range first and foremost. Provisions and fuel purchased in Laughlin, Nevada will be much less expensive than in Needles. Right on the Needles Highway and not far from the trailhead is the: South Pointe Market Address: 3675 Needles Hwy, Laughlin, NV 89029 Other pre-trip gas stations can be found here. If for whatever reason you find yourself needing fuel half-way through you can detour to Baker, California. Guide Notes: There are volumes written on the Mojave Road. The trailsoffroad.com guide is meant to be the cliff notes, and get you out on the trail so you can enjoy your overland adventure. For a detailed history of the trail, we recommend the The Mojave Road Guide by Dennis Casebier. The Mojave Road track for download is complete with extra waypoints which may not be depicted here. Mileage is approximated. Total miles will vary depending on the side trips you take. Some sources list the Mojave Road as different mileages. Mileage shown here is directly from the GPS track. Video: Day 1 - https://youtu.be/_DsrihLzy2U Day 2 - https://youtu.be/MtySEtT9vc0 Day 3 - https://youtu.be/gzc3tEOt4FM

Trail Reviews

4.8/5 (56)
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Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 02/26/2024
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

We ran a large portion of the Afton Canyon section and it’s a super fun trail. the only real obstacle in the afton canyon section was the lake bed - it's closed and seems impassable due to deep mud as you approach the center. we took a separate side trail to the highway to detour around it.
Trail Review: Mojave Road - Tommy/Eric
Trail Review: Mojave Road - Tommy/Eric
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Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 01/07/2024

Ran from East to West(Afton Road). 2-1/2 days, 2 nights. What amazing and varied Terrain.Beautiful sights and at times you feel like you are on another planet. In January it can get cold at night(it was below freezing one night), so bring your cold weather gear. Also bring your tools and spare bolts and nuts. The drop into Watson's wash was a challenge for stock suspensions (spotter recommended) but most of the other terrain was pretty straight forward. Fun water crossings near Spooky Canyon and Afton Campground. A bucket list trip that I hope I get to do again.
Trail Review: Mojave Road - Glen Farrell
Trail Review: Mojave Road - Glen Farrell
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Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 11/23/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Ran the trail W to E Nov 21st-24th. Started on Tuesday afternoon and ended at the Colorado River late morning on Friday. In total, about 16 hours of driving spread across 4 days. With shorter days this time of year, didn't get going until around 9am and setting up camp around 3-3:30pm each day. Daytime temps all four days were in low-to-mid 60s, nights were in upper 30s and lower 40s. Trail conditions were dry the whole trail (with exception of the water crossing at Afton). While the cairns were very helpful to staying on course, we were really thankful for TOR reports so we didn't miss things like leaving a rock at Travelers Monument and putting a penny in the can at Penny Tree. It's not technically difficult trail, just a lot of great overlanding through beautiful Joshua tree forests and some fun stretches of soft sand. Most challenging feature was Watson Wash Drop-in which we did from bottom to top. We didn't have to do the bypass south of Fort Piute (it's rough bit of road, but passable both going up and going down the grade). Overall, highly recommend this as a great 2-3 day adventure.
Trail Review: Mojave Road - Jay Grant
Trail Review: Mojave Road - Jay Grant
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Partially Open
Visited: 04/28/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Did the whole trail, west to east. Water crossing was very shallow, not a problem. Soda Lake was closed (per the website), and we had to detour up to Baker... which worked for Gas and Ice. The rest of the journey was nice. The Wash Drop In going west to east was a little gnarlier than we thought and we went around. A great trail... a great weekend with the guys,.
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 02/27/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Great trail if you enjoy history. Loved the thousands of years of indigenous use even before the explorers, miners, cowboys and now wheelers.

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