You should have seen me talk about our day off-roading in the Mojave National Preserve. Here I wanted to go a little bit more in detail about this amazing location. This is a geological formation, formed millions of years ago, in the middle of nowhere. You must experience this crazy natural formation just for the thrill. It’s the Lava Tubes.
Having only been there once, I haven’t had the opportunity to drive to this Lava Tube through all the available trails. However, based on my research and the route that I took, I will strongly recommend a vehicle with a decent ground clearance preferably a 4 Wheel drive or an All-wheel drive.
I wouldn’t dare venture into these areas with a regular sedan or even a small SUV as the trails are pretty wild in some parts. You will find yourself driving over loose volcanic rocks in the trail. Well, trust me… Having the right kind of vehicle will make things easy when you make your way up there. I can guarantee that you will have an interesting story to tell about your experience driving on different terrains.
From the Kelbaker Road turn out, this is a five-mile drive mostly on a dirt road and from Cima Road (which is what I ended up taking due to road closures on Kelbaker Road) it’s approximately 30 miles mostly on loose dirt, and wash roads. At some points within the trails, you will be driving on sharp and loose volcanic rocks and quite a few up and down hills.
Whichever route you take just be careful as finding another soul in this area for help is unlikely. Seriously, there was not one human there. Therefore, just be prepared with some basic essentials in case of an emergency, delay or mishaps.
Also, remember there is no cell service available most of the time anywhere in the area to call for help. Also plan your route in and out of the Mojave Preserve ahead of time. I used GAIA GPS and offline Google Maps.
From the parking area, it’s a short walk to the Lava Tube, roughly about a quarter of a mile. The trail is a gradual uphill in elevation. As you are walking up, you will see few metal rails posts to your right. That is the indication that you are close to the Lava Tubes. From the trailhead, you will be walking over tar black volcanic rocks as you head up towards the entrance of the Volcanic Tube.
As you are approaching the entrance, you will notice two holes one big and one small. These holes are the light sources for the insides of the Lava Tubes. Pretty much, you would be exploring the ground underneath where you are standing at that moment, as you start traveling inside the Lava Tube.
Once you pass the second hole, which is the bigger one, the stairs/entrance to the Lava Tube is in sight. It’s a fairly stable 16 steps stairs anchored to a concrete floor, a little rusty but not scary at all. Maybe a little hot to the touch in summer – but that is expected.
As you climb down, you will see a small opening you will need to crawl under to enter the lava tube. I will recommend a flashlight as the entrance is little narrow and the ceiling has a few sharp pointed hardened volcanic rocks.
As soon as you hit the main cavern, you will be greeted with an amazing view of the light cascading through the holes that you just walked past a few minutes ago.
Just stand there and take it all in… it was an awe-inspiring scene hard to describe using words you just have to experience it in person.
We spent a lot of time inside the cave taking pictures. You will see, there are three light beams one big and bright and two small beams in the back. If you time your visit right, you are in for a treat with the angle of the light beam lighting up the entire cave. It was just so amazing to see.
What you are seeing here is actually the dust particles in the air that makes the light beam so prominent and beautiful.
After you have thoroughly enjoyed this place and are heading out, please be sure to follow No Trace Left Behind policy so that others visiting this place can/will enjoy this as you have. This will also help protect this beautiful Lava Tube in the Mojave Preserve.
Camera Gear and Accessories…
Camera: Sony A7R
Lens: Sony CZ 24-70 F4
Tripod: Sirui M-3204X
Ball-Head: Acratech GP Ball-Head
More Images from this trip…
Points of Interest…