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gem icon Kelso Dunes [Suggest Edits]

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One of the Mojave National Preserve's more popular destinations, the Kelso Dunes are the largest sand dunes found in the Mojave Desert. The dunes cover 45 square miles and rise up to 650 feet. The dunes are known as "booming dunes", a reference to the low-frequency rumble that can occur when large amounts of sand flows down the slopes. The dunes are home to many different desert species, and the soft sand is a great place to see animal tracks of all types.

The Kelso Dunes are closed to all OHV use, but are open to hiking.

Short Hike: The dunes are accessed from a marked trailhead just off Kelbaker Road. Take Kelbaker Road south from Kelso Depot for approx. 8 miles to Kelso Dunes Rd. The trailhead is a short distance down the road on the right. There are information signs and pit toilets at the trailhead. The trail travels about 0.5 miles to the edge of the sand. One can turn around here, or continue cross-country up the steep slope to the top of the dunes.

Gem Type: Geologic Feature

Shared by:
Ryan Dunn


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Jul 29, 2021
Ashley Hamel
Feb 13, 2021
Private User
Apr 19, 2020
Seth K
Nov 23, 2019
Rui Zhu
Mar 28, 2019
Jeanna Mielcarek
Booming of the dunes
Nov 30, 2018
Isaac Bozeman
Nov 17, 2018
Marcos N
Nov 1, 2018
Ryan Dunn
Very peaceful and surreal location. We had the dunes all to ourselves on a Thursday morning.

Nearby Trails

2.8 mi 4.5 km Kelso Dunes Route
Needles, CA
Needles, CA
Shared by Ryan Dunn on Nov 5, 2018. All Page Views: 135. Last Month: 3.