Castle Mountains National Monument lays claim to some of the most unique elements of the Mojave Desert: native desert grasslands against craggy mountains and wildlife habitat for golden eagles, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, coyotes and bobcats. All provide adventure and solitude from nearby metropolitan areas.

There are no paved roads into the monument. Dirt access roads require high clearance and 4WD. Always call to check conditions – these roads wash out regularly.

CASTLE VIEW DRIVE is Hwy 164 between Nipton and Searchlight. It’s an easy and beautiful drive past dense Joshua Tree forests. Stop at Nipton for refreshments and Historic Walking Box Ranch to take in views of the rugged and remote Castle Mountains.

IVANPAH ROAD & LANFAIR ROAD is a scenic drive through historic and beautiful Lanfair Valley with views to Castle Mountains. Pavement ends: High clearance recommended. Combined Distance: 47 miles. Minimum drive time: 1.5 hours.

CEDAR CANYON ROAD is a more accessible approach to Lanfair Valley. This is a maintained dirt road as far as lvanpah – call ahead for current conditions.

MOJAVE ROAD was originally one of the overland routes that brought American pioneers to California. Much of it is unchanged since those days! It is extremely rugged in parts. Recommended for experienced 4WD travelers only.

There are no developed trails within the Monument. 

There are no services available within the Monument itself.

Offroad desert travel
Joshua Trees at sunrise

Visitor information is available at Mojave National Preserve Headquarters in Barstow as well as Hole-in-the-Wall Information Center and Kelso Depot within the Preserve.
These surrounding communities offer limited services:
Searchlight – Gas, Indoor Lodging and Food
Nipton – Food, Indoor Lodging
Fenner – Gas, Food
Backcountry camping is allowed within the monument. Developed sites are available within the Mojave Preserve at Mid-Hills Campground and Hole-in-the-Wall Campground. Group and equestrian campsites are available at Black Canyon.

Travel with plenty of water. Don’t assume you can find drinks on your trip. The average adult needs a minimum of half a gallon of water a day.

Always start with a full tank of gas. Fill up when you pass a station, even if you still have plenty of fuel. It may be a long distance to the next station.

Cellphone reception can be spotty to nonexistent. Don’t rely on your phone or GPS maps to navigate. Always carry an up-to-date printed map of the area.

Think before you leave paved roads! If an incident occurs on a remote road, it can be a long time until help arrives. Be safe and drive with care.

Spend the day in Lanfair Valley. Park at OX Ranch and hike into the Monument. Bring a picnic lunch. If you’re lucky you could see bighorn sheep. Go in April to see the wildflowers! You need to take the truck for this one, the roads can be rough – and bring lots of water.

Walking Box Ranch Road provides most direct access to the Monument. It’s a rough dirt road, so a high clearance/4WD vehicle is required. Beneath the shadow of Hart Peak are rich Native American archaeological sites and the historic gold mining ghost town of Hart.

Enjoy the stunning vistas of the rocky California and Nevada desert mountain ranges – including Nevada’s Spirit Mountain, which is revered by southwestern Native American tribes and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.