Out on the Box: Castle Mountains National Monument

If you want to get away from it all and experience the solitude of the Mojave Desert, consider Castle Mountains National Monument. This is one of the newer units in the national park system, designated by President Obama on February 12, 2016, and it is not developed in any way. There is no visitor center, no restrooms and no paved roads. The only access into the monument is via dirt roads. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended.

Getting to Castle Mountains National Monument

Castle Mountains National Monument is situated between the Nevada State Line and it’s sister park, the Mojave National Preserve. In fact, it is surrounded on three sides by the Mohave National Preserve.

The main access into the monument is via Walking Box Ranch Road off California State Road 164. We came in from the east, after an overnight in Laughlin Nevada. You can also make your way from the west, from Barstow, California on the I15.

Things to do at Castle Mountains National Monument

There is nothing “to do” at Castle Mountains National Monument, but that’s really the point. Here you can get away from it all and just experience the wonder of the Mojave desert. Marvel at how the Joshua trees climb all the way up the mountain ridges, lining the peaks and desert valley.

Take the scenic drive; wander along one of the dirt roads to enjoy this spectacular Joshua tree forest; enjoy the solitude of this desert grassland; and watch for the birds and animals who make this their home.

It is almost 21,000 acres of unbroken nature, extending Mojave National Preserve and linking two mountain ranges that serve as a migratory range for bighorn sheep, mountain lions and bobcats. We didn’t see any of these animals… we visited in the summer; early in the morning before the heat of the day and early enough to see an amazing sunrise.

Probably the best time to go is in the spring when there are wildflowers, or the fall when it is cooler. Unless you hike or backpack, your visit won’t be more than an hour or two, but the scenery is well worth it.


Need Help Planning Your Visits?

If you would like to explore this or other National Park Units, but need a bit help in the planning, please give us a call at (480) 609-3978. We are happy to offer customized trip planning.