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Old 12-05-2017, 11:51 AM   #1
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Mojave Preserve Trip Report

Wanted to share some pics from my trip out to the Mojave Preserve a few weekends ago. It was my wife's first camping experience in the van and it went great!

We started out going to the Lava tubes. We were there a little late in the day so the sun wasn't shining through the tubes, but still a fun quick stop. Super easy for any non 4wd vehicle to get there, and if you aren't afraid of driving on a few rocks you can park right next to them to save yourself a little walk.
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Old 12-05-2017, 11:58 AM   #2
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Next we went to lock down a campsite before sunset. Bemerritt suggested a spot along kessler peak road but it was taken. We just drove another 1/4 mile down the trail and found another one. It wasn't quite as sheltered from the wind but we just positioned the van to block out as much as possible. Pretty decent spot, but it was exposed so not highly recommended in windy conditions.

On the satellite view the red circle is where we wanted to stay, blue circle is where we stayed, and the black circle is where we drove up to the next morning. For future reference there was another campsite along the same road another 1/4-1/2 mile down.
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Old 12-05-2017, 12:03 PM   #3
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Next morning we drove up the trail to the end just below kessler peak, black circle on the map in previous post. Pretty easy drive, just narrow and low. Height could be a problem for some vans and definitely added some new stripes to my paint. There was also another campsite around halfway up this trail, didn't look like anything special but if everything was taken along kessler peak road you could stop there. It would have been awesome to hike up to one of the peaks but it was very windy and the wife is pregnant so we just enjoyed the view for a bit.
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Old 12-05-2017, 12:10 PM   #4
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After that we headed to the Kelso dunes, which I am sure many people here are familiar with. We drove past the trail head and parked at what would be an awesome campsite for a big group. Close to the road but could handle a lot of vehicles, super flat, and had an actual fire ring. We walked out to the dunes from there and made our way about halfway up the biggest dune we could find. Again pregnant wife and also the dogs paws were getting raw from the sand so we didn't make it all the way up. But still a nice view to stop and enjoy with a cold one.

The dog had an absolute blast here. Wish we could have spent more time but we wanted to get to our next campsite before the sun went down and it was a decent hike from where we parked to the actual dunes. last picture shows what you walk through to get there
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Old 12-05-2017, 12:20 PM   #5
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Again we got a campsite recommendation from bemerrit to stay at a spot behind hole-in-the wall campground. It was a pretty good spot and much more protected than the previous night so wind wasn't an issue. Definitely a little more challenging trail to get to it, but no 4wd necessary. I would only be worried if you camped out there with some potential weather coming in.

We got a cool pink sunset behind one of the mountains. Dog was pretty KO'ed after running around the dunes too so she hit the sack pretty early. In the morning we had to bail early due to a herd of cows coming down the hills towards our site. Got about 20yds from the car when we actually left.

Trail coming out was the most "challenging" drive of the trip, but again made it with only 2wd. Some spots were washed out and we had to sidetrack around so I would avoid this one if there was recent rain.
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Old 12-05-2017, 12:25 PM   #6
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We thought in the morning we would go check out hole-in-the-wall itself but the dogs paws were really raw from the dunes so we just made our way out. We stopped at what would be a cool big group campsite right off black canyon road just above the hole in the wall campground that had a couple fire rings and plenty of flat space.

Overall was a fantastic little 2.5 day trip. Learned a lot about what I want to do with storage inside the van. Thoroughly impressed the wife with the van's capability. There were at least half a dozen, "There is no way we will make it past that" comments throughout the trip. Also learned that the dog hates the bumpy driving when we are on trails which is a bummer.
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Old 12-05-2017, 12:43 PM   #7
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2wd, clearance and limited slip will take you places no wife thinks you can go!
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Old 12-05-2017, 01:20 PM   #8
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Looks like you had a fun trip!

I've camped at the end of the road beyond Kelso Dune trailhead, it's a great 'late night pull in' spot. Nice and flat, like you said. Hiking to the top of the dunes is well worth it if you get the chance on another trip.

Hole in the wall is a nice camp, the loop trail hike is fun, some cables and ring grappling, not bad if you're reasonably fit, great for kids (not sure I'd take a pregnant lady, though, depends on how adventurous she is).

I can recommend Caruther's Canyon for some day hiking, there's an old copper mine that's fun to hike to, not too strenuous of a hike. It takes some map reading to find it, 2wd will get you most of the way there, park and hike the rest. It's not very well used since it's off the beaten path, so you often have the place to yourself.

I've always wanted to do the entire east west running Movaje Road, which is kind of popular (4x4 is mandatory I understand). it's on my list of trips to do.
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Old 12-05-2017, 02:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomsBeast View Post
Looks like you had a fun trip!

I've camped at the end of the road beyond Kelso Dune trailhead, it's a great 'late night pull in' spot. Nice and flat, like you said. Hiking to the top of the dunes is well worth it if you get the chance on another trip.

Hole in the wall is a nice camp, the loop trail hike is fun, some cables and ring grappling, not bad if you're reasonably fit, great for kids (not sure I'd take a pregnant lady, though, depends on how adventurous she is).

I can recommend Caruther's Canyon for some day hiking, there's an old copper mine that's fun to hike to, not too strenuous of a hike. It takes some map reading to find it, 2wd will get you most of the way there, park and hike the rest. It's not very well used since it's off the beaten path, so you often have the place to yourself.

I've always wanted to do the entire east west running Movaje Road, which is kind of popular (4x4 is mandatory I understand). it's on my list of trips to do.
Thanks for the recommendations! We loved it out there and definitely plan on going back so we can try some of the stuff you mentioned. In hindsight we probably should have just left the dog in the car and done the hole-in-the-wall loop since we were right there but I guess we have a good reason to make our way back there at some point.

My brother can correct me if I am wrong but when he did the Mojave trail he had a guy in a Bronco whose 4wd wasn't working and he made it the whole way just in 2wd. Obviously different than a 2wd van but leaves some hope that us 2wders could make it, especially with some 4x4 friends in the group.
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Old 12-05-2017, 03:30 PM   #10
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sick! thanks for sharing dude. Love mojave.
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