Mojave Road is a 4-Wheel Drive Route in California

Mojave Road is the name of an east-west route located within the Mojave National Preserve, in the US state of California. The road, one of North America's most iconic 4x4 routes, is about 150 miles long and can be done in 3 or 4 days.

Mojave Road

Where is Mojave Road?

The road is tucked away in eastern California's Mojave National Preserve, in the Mojave Desert of the US state of California. It’s one of North America’s more famous routes.

How long is Mojave Road?

This rough road, also called the Old Government Road, is around 240km (150 miles) long, running from the old Fort Mohave (on the west bank of the Colorado River, roughly 10 miles southwest of Bullhead City, Arizona) to the site of the old Camp Cady (on the west bank of the Mojave River, roughly 12 miles northeast of Newberry Springs, California). Carry a good map; do not depend solely upon GPS navigation devices.

When was Mojave Road built?

This desert track is the remnants of a wagon trail once connecting the old Mojave Fort along the Colorado River to Camp Cady, about 20 miles east of Barstow. It was originally created by the Mojave People who lived on the banks of the Colorado River and later served the cause of westward expansion. Military forts were established along the route to protect key water sources and provide assistance for travelers.

How long does it take to drive the Mojave Road?

Under optimal conditions, the complete road can be traveled in 2-3 days. This is a real adventure, so it’s not for everybody. Today it is a popular four-wheel drive road. You should be prepared for desert travel and plan according to the current weather which can vary widely depending on the time of year. There are opportunities for undeveloped camping along the route.

Is Mojave Road remote?

Driving the Mojave Road requires self-reliance. The area is pretty remote, and you’ll be in the desert as well. A main issue can be cactus such as the Teddybear Cholla. These little spiny plants can puncture the sidewall of your tire and ruin your trip. A good spare, a compressor, tire repair kit, and a can of flat repair is worth having on board. Some things to consider are the temperature and weather changes inherent in the desert. Rain can quickly make some parts of the dirt road impassable, or you can encounter sand storms brought on by strong winds. Extremely high temperatures can also make it difficult. It is recommended that cars do not attempt the Mojave Road alone. Most of the road does not have reliable cell phone coverage.

How difficult is Mojave Road?

The road is not difficult, and most four-wheel drive SUVs should be able to complete the drive, weather permitting. Some sections are rough and sandy. Sand is the biggest issue, so knowing how to deal with it is a huge plus. Be sure to inquire about road conditions, especially if you plan to cross Soda Dry Lake. A four-wheel drive vehicle is required for all but a few short stretches of this road, which is unmaintained. Most of the difficult parts of the trail can be bypassed, but there are no warnings telling you what’s ahead. Seasonal hazards like water on Soda Lake, washouts from summer monsoon floods, and winter snow or ice may render the road impassible.