Hiking Project Logo

gem icon Kelso Dunes [Suggest Edits]

7 votes
Zoom in to see details
Map Key


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


You & This Gem

Your Rating: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Add Your Check-In


Apr 6, 2024
Rochelle Jones
Feb 21, 2022
Michael Sander
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

Nearby Trails

2.8 mi 4.5 km Kelso Dunes Route
Intermediate Intermediate
Needles, CA
Intermediate Intermediate
Needles, CA
Shared by Ryan Dunn on Nov 5, 2018. All Page Views: 163. Last Month: 5.

Join the Community

Create your FREE account today!
Already have an account? Login to close this notice.

Get Started