Explore the best trails near Baker with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
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.
Being from the northeast, i really enjoyed the difference of hiking a desert trail. Started my hike around 10 am; after about 15 minutes on the trail, I ran into 2 hikers on their return. After that, I had the trail to myself the rest of the day. Joshua trees of course were a real treat to see. Also saw a blacktail jackrabbit and a whole bunch of small Desert night lizards. View from the top was worth the sweat!
Trail progresses up a mild incline for most of the way through the largest and densest Joshua Tree forest in the world. The last half mile or so of the 3-mile trail became somewhat steeper, leading up to a rocky incline and spectacular overlooks. The diversity of desert plant life was amazing as was the size of the ears on the jackrabbit we scared out of his hiding place. Only three other hikers on the trail and weather was perfect in this late-April time of year.
The dunes are great. I give it a 4.5 star. The large dunes are much taller than the Mesquite Flat dunes. But the overall area is much smaller than the Mesquite Flat dunes. Plenty of dunes and curves to photograph here. I can't stress it enough that you bring ski goggles just in case you're fortunate enough to get some wind blowing through the silky dunes. It is incredibly beautiful with the sand blowing but incredibly painful with the sand pelting you're eyeballs.
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 place is fantastic and, from what I have seen, empty of people. I recommend getting a hiking book if you plan to explore this place for a couple days. There are not many marked trails in the preserve so you have to hike cross country which can be very tricky. I got off track by miles a couple of times. I do recommend the Mid Hills trail, which is well marked. Mid Hills is also an awesome place to camp.
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.
My boyfriend and I camped out here for a night in December 2011. It was freezing cold at night, but it was very secluded. They had free campsites that you can drive to and pre-made fire pits in the camping spots. It was a nice little get-a-way for the night. We were going to hike to the mines (which was a couple miles near our camping site), but we decided to head home. They do have this old area where they used to herd cattle (I'm assuming). It was pretty cool! I definitely wouldn't mind going back there!