I second what others have said about these dunes being more impressive than the Mesquite Flat Dunes. Highly recommend visiting at sunset, if you can. The sunset hues and dune shadows will make the landscape (and your pics) that much more dramatic.
These dunes are more impressive than the Mesquite Flat Dunes in Death Valley. The climb to the top was brutal -- I recommend walking up the side of the tallest dune and following the ridge to the top rather than trying to walk straight up. The views at the top made the struggle worth it though, and it was really fun to run and slide down the dunes.
Anna T. on Kelso Dunes Trail
Great detour if you're already on the 40. The dunes are awesome. If you go in the summer try to go as early as possible and bring lots of water!
One of the more fun shorter hikes I have completed. I attempted this hike in the fall of 2011 in about 95F heat...I did not complete it at that time. It was too hot for me. This day in late May 2015 was about 65F starting at 10AM and about 75F at completion. Following the ridge and stepping in previous hikers' tracks made the walking significantly easier.
Alyson M. on Kelso Dunes Trail
Hidden sand dune in the middle of nowhere but worth the detour! I recommend hiking sandals if you have them. Our friends who wore shoes had to stop a couple times to unload the sand out of their shoes. However we did see one group going completely bare foot! Definitely need a bandana because the winds pick up the higher you go and googles! And one thing I wish I brought was something to slide down the dune once we got to the top!
If u have hiking sandals wear those! I wore my chacos and stayed on top of the soft sand rather than sinking in. Nice views from the top! The sand "farts" when you run down it!! Unique experience in the middle of effing nowhere. Wear a bandana over ur mouth and wraparound sunglasses, a hat that will stay on in the wind is a must. Go exploring!!
This is my favorite sand dunes. Although I have only been 2 dunes in my life I already know that this has to be 1 of the best. I randomly woke up 1 day at 4am and took a 4 hour drive to the Mojave and hike the dunes. I was basically the only person the entire time. I really enjoyed the quietness of the place and the view was spectacular.
I.m. P. on Kelso Dunes Trail
this is an awesome hike to the top of a sand dune. took me about 2 hours start to finish.
I.m. P. on Kelso Dunes Trail
Nice hike. Walking on the sand is harder than you think.
David D. on Kelso Dunes Trail
Hiking up to the top of the Kelso Dunes is a bit of a butt kicker in the last stretch. The view is amazing with the sand backbone. We were there on a cool day so it was perfect!
Love this hike. I have hiked it both at day and at night. I really enjoy it as it isn't that difficult unless it's super hot. The only bad thing (for me) is that when you reach the top and look down it can be really scary. Also, be careful if you wear contact lens as the sand is blowing around and can easily get in your eyes and ruin your lenses. You may also want to consider covering your mouth on those windy days to avoid getting a mouth full of sand. Beautiful place and surprised that most people I know that grew up in Southern California have no idea it's even there.