Explore The Mojave Desert Lava Tube

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This is Why You Need to Explore The Mojave Desert Lave Tube
Explore The Mojave Desert Lava Tube
┬áThis hidden gem under the The Mojave Desert is a Photographer’s dream on a cloudless day. Explore the dark caves to find a magical beam of sunlight shining through the lava tube ceiling.

 

The Entrance To The Lava Tube

When visiting the Lava Tubes, you must have a full tank of gas, radiator coolant, and a couple gallons of water before you enter the Mojave Desert Preserve! The preserve doesn’t offer any services other than the occasional place to fill up on water.

From The North: From Baker, CA on Interstate 15, drive 20 miles southeast on Kelbaker Rd until you come to Aiken Mine Rd. Turn left/northeast on the dirt road. Most of the year the road is well maintained enough that almost any type of vehicle can drive on the road, but a vehicle equipped for off-road travel is ideal. Travel on Aiken Mine Rd for 4.5 miles. After a mile you will pass the intersection of the famous Mojave Desert Road 4×4 Trail marked by a large rock cairn. Continue on Aiken mine Rd past Cima Domes, which are old extinct volcanoes and two water wells surrounded with a wooden staked fence. After 4 miles you will come to a “Y” in the road, stay to the left and follow the sign that says Lava Tube Trail.

A Beam of Light Shining Through the Roof of The Mojave Desert Lava Tube
A Beam of Light Shining Through the Roof of The Mojave Desert Lava Tube

At the end of the road, there is a small parking area. You need four wheel drive to go any further. From the parking area, walk 200 yards up the jeep trail to the trailhead. If you have four wheel drive you can continue northeast on the small but rugged jeep trail all the way to the trailhead. Park at the trailhead and walk up the well marked trail for 100 yards until you see the large hole in the ceiling of the lava tube below. Continue 50 more feet to the metal staircase that lowers you into the lava tube.

Turn left and watch your head as you crawl on all fours into the bigger room of the lava tube which the light shines into. There are three different holes in the ceiling of the lava tube that allow light to shine through. The cool, damp lava tube offers an amazing relief from the dry desert heat outside. Bring a headlamp/flashlight to navigate through the small dark section of the lava tube. The light shines into the lava tube during anytime of day, but the most optimal times are between 11 and 1 o’clock on a cloudless day.

Stay On The Trail To The Left At The Sign For The Lava Tube

 

The Chapstick That Got Me Out of The Mojave

 

 

 

 

 

There are plenty of adventures near the lava tube. You can drive the Mojave Desert 4×4 Road to access the lava tube from the east or west. The Mojave Road is a staple of American history and the roots of the West. The trail stretches from the Colorado River, 140 miles to the Mojave River. The trail was first used by Native Americans to access water holes in the middle of the desert.

Today the trail is a fun way to access the desert landscape with a four wheel drive vehicle. Even if you don’t take on the entire trail, you can access small sections of the trail and take advantage of the primitive campsites. If you do decide to take on this trail, prepare properly and understand some basic ways to troubleshoot car troubles. I had a plastic hose connection brake on my last trip. The hose supplied coolant to the engine and when it broke my engine instantly overheated.

I fixed a connection with a Burts Bees Chapstick tube and an elastic workout band. The tube acted as a hose and the band as an O-Ring. Those random items got me out of the Mojave Desert. You should only venture into the Mojave Desert if you are comfortable being stuck in this type of scenario. As long as you prepare and have a little ingenuity it will be exciting to figure out a way to get back to civilization. There isn’t much cell phone service, if any, in the Mojave Desert so you are truly on your own, Good Luck and Have Fun!

Pack List

– Full Tank Of Gas
– Coolant
– Camera
– Tent
– Headlamp/Flashlight
– A Couple Gallons Of Water
– Good Shoes For The Sharp Lava Rocks

The Fenced In Area You Will Drive Past On The Way To The Lava Tube

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