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Mojave Desert is in San Bernardino County, Kern County, and Los Angeles County.


Cima Dome in the Mojave Desert
  • Baker - Baker is the only significant town on I-15 in the remote desert stretch between Barstow and the Nevada border and, as a result, is frequented by travelers on their way to Las Vegas. It offers food, fuel and lodging, is home to the world's tallest thermometer, and is the starting point for those journeying north to Death Valley.
  • Barstow - Barstow is located on the former Route 66 and offers visitors several historic and natural attractions ranging from the 200,000 year old Calico early man site to the Western America Railroad museum.
  • Boron
  • Cima
  • Kelso
  • Lancaster - Lancaster provides extensive services for travelers, as well as the whimsical "Musical Road", a recreation of a road built in Lancaster for a Honda commercial that has grooves cut into it that generate an approximation of the William Tell Overture when a car passes over them.
  • Mojave - Mojave is a hotbed of aerospace activity, with the Mojave Spaceport the headquarters of Scaled Composites, the first private company to launch a human into space. Edwards Air Force base, a landing site for the space shuttle and a center for the development of experimental aircraft, is located adjacent to the town.
  • Needles
  • Palmdale - In 1962 Palmdale became the first city in the Antelope Valley to incorporate, and today it is home to over 150,000 people. While it lacks exciting tourist destinations, the town does offer a vast number of hotels, restaurants and other services for travelers.
  • Ridgecrest - Ridgecrest is a desert town that is adjacent to China Lake Naval Weapons Station. Many visitors pass through this area on the way to Death Valley or sites further north along the Eastern Sierra.
  • Trona
  • Victorville

Other destinations

  • Edwards Air Force Base is in the western Mojave. The airfield is used for aircraft testing; it is also an alternate landing spot for the Space Shuttle. Aircraft designer Burt Rutan operates out of Mojave but occasionally uses the long runways at Edwards for testing or noteworthy flights such as the Voyager around-the-world.


The majority of visitors to the Mojave Desert see it only through their car windows as they traverse I-15 to Las Vegas. But the beauty and isolation of this desert is immense and should be experienced first-hand by travellers with time and adequate vehicles and supplies.

Get in

By car

The Mojave Desert is located between Los Angeles and Las Vegas on Interstate 15. Highway 395 passes through the middle from Victorville in the south; Highway 14 comes in from Lancaster in the southwest. Highway 40 runs from Barstow, roughly in the middle, out through Needles in the east.

By plane

Scarce airports are in the area; most have really long runways and rainy, stormy weather; few have commercial flights.

Get around

Aside from main roads, most of the Mojave is criss-crossed with dirt roads; some of these are shown as standard roads on maps; others are unmarked. In either case you should have a medium- to high-clearance vehicle, with four wheel drive if you plan extreme backcountry driving.



The best way to experience the Mojave is to camp. Much of the area is Bureau of Land Management land, with open camping allowed.

  • The Mojave Road
  • Dry Lakes
  • Dumont Dunes
  • Kelso Dunes
  • Zzyzx


  • McDonalds "Barstow Station" was once purported to be the "world's largest".
  • The "Mad Greek" in Baker (described on that page) is a good stop-over on the way to Las Vegas.


Stay safe

When travelling in the desert, follow the standard precautions; carry any needed parts and fluids for your vehicle, and at least a gallon of water per day for drinking. Rattlesnakes will only bite you if they feel threatened.

Go next

To the North of the Mojave desert is Death Valley.

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