Kelso Sand Dunes


The Kelso Sand Dunes are a great place for any van or RV nomad to visit who wants to explore the vast Mojave desert. They are the largest dunes in the Mojave Desert and are protected by the Mojave National Preserve.  What makes these dunes different from others in the area is that no ATVs and motorcycles are allowed on the dunes. This means peace. 


The Kelso Sand Dunes make for a great day trip for anyone looking to explore this natural wonder and hike in the sand. The largest dunes reach 650 ft which allows for a 360-degree view of the entire area.

The dunes are known as the “Singing Sand Dunes.” These dunes are known to make a “humming” sound when you run or slide down their face. I’ve never heard them sing, but others have.


Most visitors venture all the way out into the Mojave Deserts to hike the dunes. When hikers reach the summit, they are rewarded with a surreal backdrop of sand that seems to extend forever. 

The Kelso Dunes Trail is a 2.7, takes around two hours to complete, and is rated as moderate. The trail is best used from October until May, and dogs must be kept on leash.

Although this is the most popular trail at the Mojave Preserve, potential hikers can still expect solitude. There are rarely more than a few vehicles at the trailhead.


Directions from Ludlow: Travel westward on Interstate 40 28.2 miles to Kelbaker Road. Turn north onto Kelbaker Road and drive 14 miles to the Kelso Dunes access road. Turn left and drive four miles to the trailhead.

References and Links


Amboy Crater

Amboy Crater is located off Route 66 in the middle of the Mojave desert in one of the youngest volcanic fields in the United States. The crater is 250 feet high and 1,500 feet in diameter. The hike from the trailhead to the craters is approximately a 3-mile round trip. The trailhead offers parking, picnic tables, restroom facilities, and an overlook for viewing the crater.

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Afton Canyon Campground

Afton Canyon is one of the hidden gems for spring and fall camping in the Mojave desert and perfect for any van or RV nomad looking to spend time in the desert.

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