Where Is It?
Encompassing 1.6 million acres of land between Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve, Mojave Trails links together 13 wilderness areas and a tract of former railroad property along a 105-mile stretch of old Route 66 between Ludlow and Needles.
Why Is It Protected?
The Mojave Trails Monument connects and protects the landscape between Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National preserve. The area provides important habitats for desert bighorn sheep and the threatened desert tortoise. The monument also includes lots of destination spots such as:
- The longest undeveloped stretch of historic Route 66, a significant landmark of the American West.
- The Marble Mountains Fossil Beds, a 550 million-year-old trilobite fossil bed.
- The Amboy Crater, already designated as a national natural landmark and North America’s youngest volcano.
- The Pisgah Lava Flow, the most researched area in North America when it comes to the effects of volcanism on biological evolution.
- Afton Canyon, where the Mojave River flows year-round, forming a desert oasis amid colorful canyon walls.
- Sleeping Beauty Valley, the last remaining valley of pristine central Mojave desert ecosystem.
- The Cady Mountains, one of the best ranges in the Mojave to see bighorn sheep.
- Numerous sand-dune systems, including the Cadiz dunes.
How You Can Enjoy It
This massive area is ripe with recreational opportunities. From hiking and mountain biking, to hunting, fishing, off-highway vehicle use, and of course, camping.
As much of the Mojave Trails area was already protected under federal regulations, not much in the way of recreational access is expected to change due to its designation as a national monument.
The Mojave Trails monument is placed under the jurisdiction of the BLM who have not yet implemented a management plan for the new monument.
But they have stated that existing recreational actives, including all established trails for both motorized and non-motorized vehicles, will remain available for use. They also pledge that the new management plan will emphasis greater access for the public.
It’s not yet known whether there will be any new campgrounds built in the monument, but the one BLM campground already inside of the monument boundaries, Afton Canyon, will not see any changes. It’s also unknown whether current BLM dispersed camping regulations will still apply inside of the monument when the management plan is implemented.