The Mojave Desert: Places to Explore


  • Baker

    Death Valley's gateway to the central and western Mojave, the pit-stop town of Baker has several gas stations, some fast-food outlets, a few motels, and a general store that claims to sell the most winning... Read more

  • Barstow

    Barstow was born in 1886, when a subsidiary of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway began construction of a depot and hotel here. Outlet stores, chain restaurants, and motels define today's landscape... Read more

  • Bishop

    One of the biggest towns along U.S. 395, Bishop has views of the Sierra Nevada and the White and Inyo mountains. First settled by the Northern Paiute Indians, the area was named in 1861 for cattle rancher... Read more

  • Cerro Gordo Ghost Town

  • Independence

    Named for a military outpost that was established near here in 1862, Independence is small and sleepy. But the town has some wonderful historic buildings and is certainly worth a stop on your way from the... Read more

  • Lancaster

    Lancaster was founded in 1876, when the Southern Pacific Railroad arrived. Before that, several Native American tribes, some of whose descendants still live in the surrounding mountains, inhabited it... Read more

  • Lone Pine

    Mt. Whitney towers majestically over this tiny community, which supplied nearby gold- and silver-mining outposts in the 1860s, and for the past century—especially from the 1920s through the ʼ50s—the town... Read more

  • Manzanar National Historic Site

  • Mojave National Preserve

    The 1.4 million acres of the Mojave National Preserve hold a surprising abundance of plant and animal life—especially considering their elevation (nearly 8,000 feet in some areas). There are traces of human... Read more

  • Needles

    Along Route 66 and the Colorado River, Needles is a decent base for exploring Mojave National Preserve and other desert attractions. Founded in 1883, the town, named for the jagged mountain peaks that... Read more

  • Palmdale

    Before proclaiming itself the aerospace capital of the world, the town of Palmdale was an agricultural community. Settlers of Swiss and German descent, moving west from Illinois and Nebraska, populated... Read more

  • Primm, NV

    Amid the rugged beauty of the Mojave's landscapes, three casinos clustered on the Nevada side of Interstate 15 attract low rollers and travelers unable to hold off gambling until they arrive in Las Vegas... Read more

  • Red Rock Canyon State Park

  • Ridgecrest

    A military town that serves the U.S. Naval Weapons Center to its north, Ridgecrest has scores of stores, restaurants, and hotels. With about 25,000 residents, it's the last city of any significant size... Read more

  • Victorville

    At the southwest corner of the Mojave is the sprawling town of Victorville, a town rich in Route 66 heritage. Victorville was named for Santa Fe Railroad pioneer Jacob Nash Victor, who drove the first... Read more