Trip Review – Mojave Road May 2015
30 second review: Mojave Road is an epic must do trip. It’s a very long trail with plenty of desert scenery and it’s so remote we only ran across 1 small group of people over 3 days. There’s plenty to explore and we plan to go back and spend at least 4 days.
Fees: None, unless you stay at Afton Campground then it’s less than $10/night. Otherwise just pull off to the side of the road and set up camp.
Amenities: None. You’re going to need your own water, fuel, and dig or bring your own toilet.
Offroad Difficulty: 2/5 – Most of the trail is passable on a stock 2 wheel drive SUV. However there are multiple spots you’ll wish you had 4 wheel drive. Finally, there are some areas where 4 wheel drive is necessary however there are detours (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see the photos below).
Kid Friendliness: There is a ton of driving on this trip, almost 130 miles, and you need to put in major hours per day. I won’t be taking Ava on this trip for many years since she needs breaks to move around and that would just be impractical for a trip of this length. Joshua Tree is a great alternative for desert scenery that’s much easier to do as a family with toddlers. You can read our report here.
As mentioned above, this trip is not really suited for toddlers but I’d like to go over some of the highlights of the Mojave Road to let others know what they’re missing out on and determine if they want to take the trip for themselves. The first step is to pick up a guide and I highly recommend Guide to California Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails. Unlike the upcoming trip reports I won’t be providing GPS route data here since this was not something I recorded at the time, however, the guide book will cover you.
Day One: Rendezvous at the casinos off the 163 on the California-Nevada border. Fill up on gas and head to Balancing Rock Campground.
Day Two: Check out Fort Paiute, take a shortcut, and then head up into the New York Mountains to camp.
Day Three: Race Mother Nature to cross Soda Lake before we get trapped, then do the two water crossings to get to Afton Campground