For the footsteps of those that had crossed this expanse during the day were now gone in the light of the full moon. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from October until May. Such a cool experience! The region is protected by the Mojave National Preserve and is located near the town of Baker, San Bernardino County, California, and the Preserve Visitor Center. Recommended vehicles: MC, 4WD, ATV, DB (760) 252-6000. This monster is n. The Kelso Dunes is a beautiful little destination that we came across on our travels and unexpectedly, it was definitely worth taking a break here to stretch the feet and enjoy the views. Definitely a workout if done fast if you go slow I think most anyone could do it. Prepare to posthole knee deep when you get near the top and don't worry about all the sand in your boots until you're back down. The Depot restaurant was mainly for employees of the railway, however, it did serve meals to the public on occasion. If you can, take advantage of places like the Kelso Dunes, of Mojave National Preserve, they’ve been set aside to provide opportunities and unforgettable experiences such as Tacoma and I’s moonlight trek to the top of Mojave’s sandy “beach”. Although rare in comparison to the deserts of Africa and other parts of the world, sand dunes in the U.S. are fantastic places to backpack, sandboard, or ski. Now stuck, unable to grab hold of the little urchin, he sat there staring at me, tongue lolling, obviously grinning from ear to ear – “Isn’t this great fun?” And so we commenced our trek to the summit, balancing our steps astride a ridge of sand sculpted so precisely by the wind and weight of each grain that it appeared as though no other life had been there but us, and in that moment that was true. Growing up along the California coast, sandy beaches came with crashing ocean waves, the smell of sea salt and the feel of hot tar stuck to my feet. The hind feet and long slender tail of the Kangaroo rat showed her bounding journey in search of seeds that would supply all the water she needs. Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter packed with the best adventure guides, travel ideas, news, and articles. As this is a casual paced scenic ride we offer the option of an ATV Tour, a UTV Tour, or SunBuggy Dune Buggy Tour. (April weather was great, about 70 degrees and partly cloudy. Is this a must-do if you are traveling with a, Is this a place or activity you would suggest for, Would you recommend this place or activity to a friend looking for an, Is this a romantic place or activity that you would suggest for, Are the prices for this place or activity, Ever run on the beach and think, man, it's really hard to get anywhere when my feet slip. Providence Mountains State Recreation Area Tickets, Half-Day Jeep Tour of the San Andreas Fault, San Andreas Fault Jeep Tour from Palm Desert, Half-Day Joshua Tree National Park Jeep Tour, Providence Mountains State Recreation Area. We had to run to catch the sunset. 45 square miles of quartz and feldspar, Kelso Dune Field is the largest of its kind in the Mojave Desert. It was on the low, hummocky, dunes and in the troughs that tiny tracks and trails proved as evidence of life besides our own. We got to a place where we decided to stop and then turn around and were kind of disappointed that we weren't able to go further up the dunes. Seeing the other side of the dunes was really special. Feeling lost in the dunes is key to the experience, and it's hard to feel that way when there are footsteps and people everywhere. Winds created the dunes as they blow sand particles across the Mojave river sink resulting in a 45-square mile sandbox. If you decide to climb to the top of the dunes you will be rewarded with an amazing view of the East Mojave desert. Lots of neat tracks. Kelso Depot is a few miles south of the dunes. SUNSET! The road to the Dunes is not paved but completely navigable if you drive slow and avoid the large potholes. A group of concerned citizens and groups managed to save the building and today the restored depot is the main Visitor Center of the Mojave National Preserve. Thanks! Kelso is one of a few acoustic dunes that produce a squeaking or booming sound as sand grains compress and slip over one another. (7), San Bernardino County Deserts Weather Forecast. Kelso Depot is only a few miles from the dunes and well worth a stop while in the area. All sorts of creatures and plants now call Kelso Dunes and the surrounding area home. For some, this is literal. Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. Once you park there is a significant walk to even get to the dunes. The Kelso Dunes directions on the website is accurate and easy to find. My dog loved it! If you have never done a dune hike before, I can not say enough great things. If you're using AllTrails maps, follow the black dashes at the very end instead of the red line. Within the earthen waves is a mysterious desert environment that provokes a truly unique experience: a dive into sand dunes is also a dive into the beyond into something deeper. I came to the reserve to hike a mountain peak nearby but there was so much fog and rain that I came to the Kelso Dunes first to spend a. couple hours while the weather cleared. Animal inhabitants include birds, rodents snakes, and lizards along with some very rare insects including the Kelso Dune Cricket. You could spend an hour here or an entire day here depending on how much you want to explore. Fort Tejon was initially established in 1854 and was later home to the U.S. Army's First Dragoons, who worked from the outpost until the summer of, Salt Creek is located below the Ritz Carlton Hotel in South Orange County and has been a favorite surfing spot since the 1960s. We hiked almost to the bottom of the tall dunes and our lack of adjustment to the altitude even though it's not that high and the heat did not help with our comfort on the hike. Kelso Sand Dunes, Mojave Desert, California: The largest sand dunes in the Mojave rise 600 feet above sea level and rumble with the wind, a phenomenon known as “booming.” Along with a rare lizard that swims in the sand, some of the best views in the area can be found at the top of its biggest dune. Kelso Dunes are also known as the booming dunes due to the sound they make as you climb down from the top. more, Top Selling Tours & Activities in and around Essex. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-862-2543. --John Burroughs, Images This was awesome! Bring a ton of water. Do it! We talked to a woman coming back down on our walk and she said it took her 30 minutes to get to the top from an area that looked very close to the top, she said the sand is so deep she had to get on her hands and knees to make it to the peak. For example, the It’s about thirty miles that way or go north on the same road from Interstate 40. I reached the parking lot and parked next to the car that had been in front of me. The first half is easy and the trail is easy to follow. It’s about more than standing on the mountain top. Good visit although it is very far from everything. The loping gait of my four-footed friend sounded like a miniature horse traversing the waves of sand with untiring energy. Did not venture further. Take it slow, much slower than the recommended 25 MPH, or you'll be replacing your shocks and struts significantly sooner than planned. and I packed some snacks and a lot of water as we read reviews before going. Kelso Dunes Trail is a 2.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Amboy, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment? Or the minute dots of the fringe-toed lizard that marked where his scaled toes dug in to allow him to "swim" through the sand. Turn left (north) on Kelbaker Road and drive 14 miles to the Kelso Dunes access road. We are just about to go for a trip there. Since then they have been closed to off-road vehicles and the dunes have made a remarkable recovery. Sitting on the sand eating our snack, it was so quiet and beautiful, I imagine the night sky would be a star filled delight! This is a great sand dune hike, and battles only with the Eureka Dunes in Death Valley and the Great Sand Dunes NP for best dune hike in the US. At one time, the population of Kelso was nearly 2,000 and the depot was used as a community center for locals. The area has one of the biggest sand bowls anywhere. the parking area. The mountains have dry summers, Discover the best places and events to celebrate the Christmas season in Southern California. They cover about 45 square miles and the tallest dune is about 700 feet tall. The hike up the dunes was about 2 hours round trip. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. This extraordinary dune system has an unexpectedly mysterious history. The one unfortunate thing about this trail is the lack of solitude. My adult child. There is a nice bathroom (large fancy port a potty - but permanent) at the beginning of the trailhead. California Travel and Tourism Commision, P.O. 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