Monday, February 3, 2014
Hike 2014.005 -- Kelso Dunes, Mojave National Preserve
The Kelso Dunes trail-head is about 8 miles south of Kelso Depot, where the main visitor center for Mojave National Preserve is located. From paved Kelbaker Road, it's three miles on a gravel road (generally suitable for passenger cars) to the parking area. A vault toilet and interpretive signs are at the trailhead.
Once you leave the parking area, the initial part of the trail is well-defined. However, soon there is no formal trail, as you're going over sand, which blows across the footprints each night. The highest dunes are allegedly 600 feet tall. I'm not sure where they're measuring that from. I suppose the total altitude gain from the trailhead may be close to that, but you're not 600 feet above the area immediately around the dunes.
The third photo was taken nearest the start of the hike, with a well-defined trail. The first was near the top of the tallest dune, looking towards the Providence Mountains. The second was on the way back, on the flatter area. Lots of various creature tracks along the way, at least where they weren't obliterated by footprints.