Cancel Search
  • Search by
  • 4 PHOTOS MAP

    Kelso Dunes

    Mojave National Preserve, California

    Kelso Dunes

    Kelso Dunes Trail Photos

    Drop Photo or click to upload

    Kelso Dunes Trail Trip Reports

    Terrible!
    Start your trip report for Kelso Dunes Trail
    Attach photos from your trip.
    Please Select a star rating.
    5
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    icon5 Total
    Fort Irwin, CA
    Explorer | 30 pts
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    4/11/2009
    Absolutely beautiful place. It had rained in the morning before we got there, so the sand was more compacted and easier to walk on. Views are magnificent. Great day hike. Didn't get to hear the 'booming' of the sand, but maybe next time! Dog friendly and good exercise for them too!
    0
    Comments
    Phoenix, AZ
    Adventurer | 270 pts
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    5/3/2008
    Amazing, never experienced anything like it. We went in Mid march and in the mid morning and it was tad bit too warm to hike all the way up. I would suggest getting there early. Very intense walking in the sand.
    0
    Comments
    Garden City, VA
    Adventurer | 230 pts
    4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
    1/26/2006
    This is an awesome winter day hike. I spent about two hours here hiking and taking some great pictures and video. Especially when the winds are calm there's nothing like the complete silence of the dessert. Look around for critter tracks in the sand. I found a huge area of rat tracks that looked like a tie-dye pattern in the sand. My only warnings: don't go barefoot, your shoes make it easier to climb in the sand and don't try to climb straight up the dune face. It gets really steep and soft at the top.
    0
    Comments
    Clearwater, FL
    Pathfinder | 81 pts
    4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
    12/3/2005
    The climb up Kelso is easy, although walking on sand can be interesting at first. I didn't make it all the way to the top, as I wanted to visit the Mitchell Caverns at 1pm. The hike is about 2 miles long, each way (I'm estimating), and the elevation gain is between 800 and a thousand feet. I stopped about 200 feet short of the peak, perhaps a quarter mile short of the top.

    Morning is the time to make this hike, as there are few people out then and the temperature is not yet boiling. December was the perfect time for this hike. The morning was cool and breezy, and the air was clear due to a recent storm a few days before.

    The graded road is about 3 miles long to the trailhead. It's well marked just off Kelbaker Road. At the end of the road is a nice parking area with restrooms. The trail is obvious and easy to follow.

    I found the experience exhilarating and interesting. When I started the hike at 8am there was no one around for miles. At first there were signs of previous explorers - footprints and a few candy wrappers. As I proceeded up the trail, the human footprints faded and were replaced by animal prints - hundreds of them. It was plainly obvious there was an active nightlife in this place.

    All in all, it was a calm hike, relatively simple and close to civilization. A good place to see what a sand dune really is and to see the desert up close.
    0
    Comments
    Deerfield Beach, FL
    Trailblazer | 775 pts
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    3/22/1998
    I visited the Kelso Dune area four times in 98 and 99. The stark beauty of this part of the Mojave desert never failed to delight me. The Dunes, the mines of the New York Mtns, and the puzzling rocks of the Cima Dome are great examples of the lonely and rugged west.
    0
    Comments

    Trail Information

    Mojave National Preserve
    Nearby City
    Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
    Accessibility
    3
    Distance
    524 feet
    Elevation Gain
    Out-and-back
    Trail Type
    Moderate
    Skill Level
    1.5 hours
    Duration
    Best October through April
    Season
    2,590 feet
    Trailhead Elevation
    3,114 feet
    Top Elevation
    Mojave National Preserve
    Local Contacts
    USGS Kelso
    Local Maps

    Trail Log