What? : Built in 1924
by the Union Pacific Railroad, the old, non-operative, and impressive Kelso
Depot has been renovated and transformed into Mojave National Preserve’s
principal information center, with museum exhibits, historically furnished
rooms, a theater, and bookstore.
The Kelso Depot
Visitor Center is currently close, Reopening anticipated Spring 2023.
services are available at Hole-In-The-Wall Information Center Friday to Monday
10am to 4pm.
Now, when the
visitor center is close, this is no more than a short stop on your way, park
your car take few pictures of the building and the outside “jail” and you will
continue with your trip.
When? : Late fall, winter
and spring is the preferred time to visit the Mojave desert, summer is just too
Due note 1: Water - Always take
more than what you think you need, this is desert and temperature can be hot,
in summer this is extremely hot environment.
Due note 2: Drive with enough
fuel, no gas station in Mojave National Preserve
Due note 3: No cellular reception
in Mojave National Preserve (you may have receptions near the main Highways). If
you are using cellular map with GPS make sure you download the map in advance
where you have cell reception (Wi-Fi connectivity is preferred).
Due note 4: During winter
month, bring with you few warm cloths, you may get warm during the day and the hike,
but you will need them once the sun is going down in a cold evening.
Due note 5: Only few paved
roads cross the Mojave Desert, most main dirt roads are in good conditions, but
some may be impossible to pass after heavy rain. There are many off-road, 4x4 only
trails, make sure you know what you are doing and what your car can handle safely.
Depot, once a train stop, a restaurant, and employees hotel, now the Mojave
National Preserve Visitors Center, located in the heart of Mojave National
In early 1923
the railroad began construction of the new "Kelso Clubhouse &
Restaurant" which opened the next year. The Kelso Depot was built to
provide services to passengers and railroad employees, and a water stop for the
served interstate passenger and shipping traffic and the transport of ore from
local mines, especially the Vulcan Mine.
In 1994 the
Mojave National Preserve was established, and the depot was transferred to the
National Park Service. A historical restoration and adaptive reuse project
followed in 2002.
The Kelso Depot
now serves, since 2005, as the main Visitor Center of the Mojave National
Once back to be
operative, the Kelso Depot Hours of Operation 9 a.m. to 5 p.m daily, Restrooms
and water are available at Kelso Depot.
The nearest gas
station is available on I-15 at Baker (35 miles) and at the Cima Road exit.