Mojave Road

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Vehicles traveling the Mojave Road stop for a break at Marl Springs

The Mojave Road or Mojave Trail is a historic route and present day dirt road across what is now the Mojave National Preserve in the Mojave Desert in the United States. This rough road stretches 140 miles (230 km) from the site of 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). A four-wheel drive vehicle is required for all but a few short stretches of this road, which is unmaintained. Under optimal conditions, its full length can be travelled in 2 to 3 days.[1]


A traditional thoroughfare of desert-dwelling Native Americans, the road much later served Spanish missionaries, explorers, and foreign colonizers and settlers from the 18th to 19th centuries, and ran between watering holes across the Mojave Desert between the Colorado River and San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California.[2] The watering holes recur at intervals of about 60 to 70 miles.[3]

Francisco Garcés, the Spanish Franciscan missionary, traveled the trail with the expedition of Juan Bautista de Anza in 1776. José María de Zalvidea, the zealous Franciscan administrator of Mission San Gabriel also crossed the trail in 1806, reportedly converting five indigenous Mojaves near present-day Hesperia. In 1826, Jedediah Smith became the first American to travel the Mojave Road.

The land passed to American hands in 1848, and the trail came under the purview of the U.S. government. Army posts were established at Fort Mojave in 1859 and at Camp Cady in 1860, with smaller outposts along the trail and regular patrols. The army protected the settlers and travelers from the territorial attacks of the resident Paiute, Mojave and Chemehuevi Native Americans. This also opened the way for agricultural development in the Victor Valley area.

The eastern end of the Mojave Road begins at the edge of the Colorado River north of Needles and the western terminus lies beyond the Rasor Off-Highway Vehicle Area and the Afton Canyon Natural Area near the Manix Wash.[4]


The following list of markers follows east to west travel.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Casebier, DG (2010). "General Guidelines". Mojave Road Guide: an Adventure Through Time (4th ed.). Essex, California: Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association. pp. 39–38. ISBN 978-0-914224-37-2. 
  2. ^ Wilcox, L. "The Mojave Road". DesertUSA. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  3. ^ Robinson, WW (1962). The Story of San Bernardino County. San Bernardino: Title Insurance and Trust Company. p. 78. 
  4. ^ "Afton Canyon Natural Area". U.S. Dept of Interior, Bureau of Land Management. Retrieved 2010-06-20. 

External links[edit]