MOJAVE NATIONAL PRESERVE is a perfect alternative to Joshua Tree National Park if you want to wander beneath massive Joshua Trees and through stunning rock formations while avoiding the massive crowds. Mojave National Preserve encompasses a shocking 1.6 million acres and is nestled away in the high desert between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. It's a convenient destination to breakup your drive to Las Vegas or if you're doing a further trek west since it's only 3-4 hours away from Los Angeles (if you don't end up driving at rush hour).
During our stay, we decided to do "roadside camping" within the park since most of the campsites were full during the time we were planning our visit Fortunately, the option for ROADSIDE CAMPING allows you to drive off designated sections of the park and seek out some impressive campsites. However, you must repurpose previous sites instead of creating brand new ones in order to ensure the park is kept in pristine condition.
We chose to roadside camp in the designated section to the east of Cima Road near the White Cross World War 1 Memorial, which offers plenty of campsites that are scattered within a forest of Joshua Trees. You can also seek out some pretty incredible spots located directly next to boulders over twenty-feet tall.
PRO-TIP: If you're really wanting to go further from Cima Road to get a campsite, you'll definitely need to ensure you have a high clearance vehicle since there are uneven portions to the dirt road that may potentially scrape the bottom of lower vehicles. The Jeep Cherokee was suitable for driving and offered plenty of clearance as we headed further from the road to find our ideal campsite.
The other amazing perk about Mojave is the fact that, on a FULL MOON, you basically have no need for a flashlight because the entire area is illuminated by the light shinning from the moon and stars. Also, this trip was the first time I was able to test out my camera's night-shooting abilities and I was pleasantly surprised with the shot we captured as the headlights from another motorist flashed by as he was seeking out a neighboring campsite.
Have you been to Mojave National Preserve? If so, share your tips and/or suggestions below in the comments section.
Till the next adventure.
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Always pack out what you pack in and leave absolutely no trace of your stay when you leave any campsite.
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