The starting point for this dirt road driving venture is the Desert Pass Campground, which was described in a previous article about Mormon Well Road. This dirt road is a 47 mile long scenic route that goes from Highway 95 to Highway 93 through the Desert National Wildlife Range. The Desert Pass Campground is located on top of the mountain range near the halfway mark, which presents a good option for turning the long bumpy ride into a less grueling two day venture.
From the high elevation Desert Pass Campground, it is nothing but a long downhill run to Highway 93. The first part of the downhill run goes over what looks like an eroded round rock bed from an ancient mountain dry wash. It is very easy to build up speed while bouncing over the rocks, which increases the odds of getting a flat tire, so it is best to gear down for the start of the ride.
Eventually the rock rubble section gives way to a smoother narrow dirt road that hugs the cliffs on the edge of the mountains. From this elevation, the picturesque views extend to the horizon deep in the Great Basin Desert. The steep mountains in the Desert National Wildlife Range gradually turn into grassy rolling hills that are dotted with Joshua Trees. This area is so serene looking, that it is easy to spend some extra time in this place!
When approaching Highway 93, it becomes easy to notice the subtle differences between the Mojave Desert starting point and the Great Basin Desert end point. The mountains in the Mojave-Great Basin Divide region certainly are an interesting study of there own. From the Highway 93 end point, it is just a short drive to the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, which offers an unimaginable lush green desert oasis environment. Highway 93 also heads back to Las Vegas, so the Mormon Well Road tour can be done as a day trip venture from the big city. In this respect, the Desert National Wildlife Range certainly is a great escape destination!
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