Kelso Dunes Trail

EASY 17 reviews
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Kelso Dunes Trail is a 2.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Baker, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

2.8 miles 490 feet Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Directions from Ludlow: Travel westward on Interstate 40 28.2 miles to Kelbaker Road. Turn left (north) on Kelbaker Road and drive 14 miles to the Kelso Dunes access road. Turn left and drive four miles to the trailhead.

hiking
2 days ago

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.

hiking
17 days ago

This is a great little 2-3hr hike to the top of the dunes. They are close to 700ft tall, but something to really be enjoyed. The white sand, and blue desert skies make a beautiful setting for Photographers like myself.

1 year ago

The sand dunes are big and offer a nice view from the top. It's a good workout getting to the top since you slide back a little with each step. Make sure to run down the side like a maniac when you're ready to come down!

1 year ago

Beautiful, especially in the early evening. The trudge up the dunes is well worth the effort.

hiking
1 year ago

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!

1 year ago

hiking
1 year ago

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.

hiking
1 year ago

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!

1 year ago

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!!

hiking
3 years ago

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.

hiking
4 years ago

When I lived in L.A. in the 90s the area between I-40 and I-15 was my favorite. Kelso Dunes, Cima Dome, and the Providence Mountains are excellent escapes from the smogy, crowded sprawl. I live south Florida now - I miss the desert.

hiking
4 years ago

this is an awesome hike to the top of a sand dune. took me about 2 hours start to finish.

hiking
4 years ago

Nice hike. Walking on the sand is harder than you think.

hiking
5 years ago

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!

hiking
5 years ago

hiking
5 years ago

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.

hiking
5 years ago

I spent three days in the Mojave for my Herpetology class in May. We went to to dunes on Saturday to look for Mojave Fringe-toed Lizards and a group of us decided to climb the dunes while we were there. Took us about an hour and a half to get to the top. Its a very hard climb up the dune and its very easy to get dehydrated so bring lots of water and take your time going up to the top. We slid/ran down the face of the dune and it sang the whole way down! I'm definately going to make this a side trip the next time I go to Vegas!