Kelso Dunes is one of the most famous landmarks in the Mojave National Preserve and this destination tops the list for those who seek fun in the sun. The Mojave Desert is not the place to be during the scorching hot long summer season, but when the cool winter weather rolls around, places like Kelso Dunes certainly do come to life. Even so, overcrowding is rarely a problem and plenty of opportunities for finding solitude abound in this amazing natural area. The Kelso Dunes are also next door to the old historic Kelso Station, which is where the visitor center is located. Information about points of interest in the area and the history of the dunes is available, which will greatly enhance the experience.
The geologic history of how the Kelso Dunes were created is very interesting to read. The events surrounding the origins read like a masterpiece novel of natural history that involves a river changing course to create lakes, followed by lake floods creating Afton Canyon and the multiple lakes drying up to create massive deposits of fine particulate matter. Wind erosion completes the picture after eons of time pass by and the sand deposits piled up in an area at the base of the mountains that is now known as Kelso Dunes.
Dawn and sunset are always the best times for hiking Kelso Dunes, because the elements of light and shadow create a feast for the eyes. Night time is also a good time to explore the dunes, since this is when most of the desert wildlife is on the prowl. This is a dark sky night area, so some out of this world astro night-scape photography can be done at this location too. The most popular trails go way up to the towering crest of the dunes, where 360 degree panoramic views can be found. Deciphering the animal tracks on the dunes early in the morning is a popular family activity. Of course, skim boarding and sand skiing are also fun activities, so an entire day can be spent playing in this gigantic sandbox and camping is allowed on public lands nearby. The Kelso Dunes certainly are worth going out of the way to experience, so be sure to chalk up this unique natural area when planning a tour of the Mojave National Preserve!
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