Kelbaker Road, Mojave NP
Kelbaker Road is one of the well-traveled back roads in the Mojave Desert connecting two major Eastern California routes of Interstate system. The I-40 to the south and the I-15 to the north, spanning 50 miles from one to the other.
Kelbaker Rd continues south to T up w/ old Route 66 near Amboy, CA. Gasoline is very iffy in Amboy, so remember gas up in Barstow.
A super scenic portion of Kelbaker Road cuts thru the western edge of Mojave National Preserve. The Kelbaker pavement reaches to an elevation of 4024′ at Granite Pass, about 6 miles north of the exit @ interstate 40. Boulder outcroppings, bare mountain peaks, secluded cove camp sites w/ dirt roads, and old mines all over. Joshua tree forest and pinyon pine forest encircle the Mid Hills region.
There are private property ranches, active railroad tracks & BLM lands along the Kelbaker route. Some of the boundaries of NPS have recently been expended. Free camping is abundant in this desert region, but it’s all primitive w/ no facilities and all are on dirt roads when your turn off Kelbaker. The best camping area are 4000 feet above sea level, so serious wind and even snow is quite possible in winter months, so go prepared w/ plenty firewood.
Historic Mojave Trail (aka Mojave Road) is out this way. Dirt bikes, off roaders love this trail that connect the Colorado River to Afton Canyon near Barstow.
This small historic ares is centered around the old train depot, which has been restored and has become the new visitors center and is totally worth a 2 hour stop and stretch break. The road heads north from Kelso and the name changes to Kelbaker-Cima Road.
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