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East Mojave Heritage Trail

Updated: Feb 22

The East Mojave Heritage Trail is an epic 700+ mile adventure through some of the lesser traveled areas within the East Mojave Desert and Mojave National Preserve. While the Mojave Road seems to get all the glory in these parts, the much longer EMHT is action packed with geological wonders and interesting history and sights around just about every corner.



Route Overview

Adventure Rating: Baja

Trip Length: 7-14 days, approximately 740 miles

Season: Year round, but October - May tends to be the best time to go before the Summer heat settles in.

Avg Technical Rating: 3

Peak Technical Rating: 4

Typical Terrain: Graded dirt and gravel roads, sandy washes, and rocky jeep tracks.

Recommended Vehicle: Stock 4x4 with AT tires.

Recommended Gear: n/a

Adventure Vans: Not recommended.

Alternative Routes: n/a

Adventure Badges: EMHT Decals and Patches are now available to purchase at the MDHCA store.

 

Route Details

The East Mojave Heritage Trail was developed in the 1980s as an alternate overland route to the better known (and much shorter) Mojave Road by Dennis Casebier. Even back in the 1980s, the Mojave Road was seeing a reasonable amount of vehicle traffic. Mr Casebier's goal with the East Mojave Heritage Trail was to try and disperse the concentrated vehicle traffic through the East Mojave region, while also introducing people to the lesser visited areas of the East Mojave Desert. As he did with the Mojave Road, Casebier created a series of guide books (one for each of the 4 segments of the EMHT) that contained detailed information about past the history of the region, mining history, railroads and other industrial developments, quirky stories, geology, flora and fauna, and tons of quirky stories. We highly recommend purchasing the guidebooks given the wealth of information they contain, but it's important to note the current iteration of the East Mojave Heritage Trail has been revised and updated to circumvent wilderness boundaries that have been implemented since the publishing of Casebier's EMHT guidebooks.


The four segments of the East Mojave Heritage Trail largely sit within the 1.5 million acres of the Mojave National Preserve. The track visits well known locations like Kelso Dunes, as well as many places off the beaten path. Given the length of the track, and the existence of Casebier's guidebooks, OTG's route guide will provide a general overview of what to expect while exploring the EMHT. We implore all travelers of the EMHT to purchase the guidebooks from Casebier as a means of providing the most informative experience while traveling the EMHT. The East Mojave Heritage Trail is broken down into four distinct segments. These are:

  • Segment 1: Needles to Ivanpah, 173 miles

  • Segment 2: Ivanpah to Rocky Ridge, 199 miles

  • Segment 3: Rocky Ridge to Fenner, 211 miles

  • Segment 4: Fenner to Needles, 155 miles


Each segment has a unique feel and history to it. Segments 1 and 2 are filled with rich mining history, segment 2 is filled with all kinds of volcanic features like the cinder cone lava fields, segment 3 features unique geological features like Kelso Dunes, Hole in the Wall, and Mitchell Caverns, while segment 4 tends to focus on the natural and geological history of the East Mojave. Needless to say, there's something for just about everyone along the EMHT, whether you're into stargazing, hiking, exploring local flora and fauna, spelunking, or learning about early pioneers and the aboriginal peoples that made this corner of the Mojave their homes. We spent hours poring through the four guidebooks and translating the wealth of information from Dennis Casebier into over 100 discovery points. The discovery points lead to locations such as old town sites, mining camps and cabins, caves, lava fields, unique geological features, and just weirdness in the desert (like the Mojave megaphone). We've also included a number of discovery points that aren't mentioned in Casebier's guidebooks, but which we believe are relevant to telling the story of the East Mojave. We hope you enjoy the research and hard work that went into developing the most complete digital mapping file available for the East Mojave Heritage Trail! The nearly forgotten East Mojave Heritage Trail was recently resurrected by Billy Creech, who spent what seemed like timeless hours exploring the desert to create an updated version of the EMHT. With its rebirth, the EMHT is destined to become one of North America's iconic overland routes. Rebirth of the East Mojave Heritage Trail Dennis Casebier had spent years exploring the desert and and writing his Mojave Road and East Mojave Heritage Trail Guide Books. He knew the possibility of wilderness research areas cutting off vehicular access to various parts of the EMHT, which happened shortly after the EMHT Guidebooks were published in the early 1990s, making through passage all but impossible on certain segments. Aside from a handful of desert rats, history buffs, and off road misfits who stilled traveled the EMHT, the route become largely forgotten, until Billy Creech came across the guidebooks and began exploring the original tracks and researching and developing new tracks to circumvent wilderness areas and trail closures.


Hailing from Southern California and now located in southwest Idaho, Billy grew up enjoying the outdoors. His first remote exploration trip was in the 80s with his girlfriend’s family in their Scout to Death Valley. A certified Master Diver, he has worked in water search and rescue, and is now a corporate supply chain strategist and planning professional. His lifestyle of outdoor exploring, hiking and camping morphed into overland exploration and then scientific expeditions. He is happiest when exploring remotely - sharing skills, enjoying nature, meeting people and making new friends while burning meat over a fire while swapping stories. Billy is an elected member of The Explorers Club, considered a subject matter expert on exploration - particularly in desert environments, holds an MBA degree from Cornell University, is the President of the Board of Directors for the Mojave Desert Heritage & Cultural Association, published author and poet, frequent guest on various exploration podcasts, and is a two-time Mojave Road Wagon Master Award recipient.

Camping Recommendations The Mojave National Preserve has attracted folks seeking solace in the desert for decades. There are quite literally hundreds of fantastic camp sites along the route. Some of our favorite places to camp include:

  • Caruthers Canyon

  • Greer Camp vicinity

  • Granite Pass vicinity

  • Kelso Dunes

  • Cinder cone lava fields

EMHT Mailboxes When the East Mojave Heritage Trail was officially introduced to the public, the trail had one mailbox per segment. These mail boxes were used by the BLM and later NPS to monitor traffic on the EMHT. Into do the 4 mailboxes along the EMHT, the old Mojave Road Mailbox #2 has been relocated to Goffs Schoolhouse. We've provided the approximate locations of these three mailboxes in our GPX files for subscribers. Please be sure to sign in if you're lucky enough to find one of these mailboxes.

  • EMHT Mailbox #1 (segment 1)

  • EMHT Mailbox #2 (segment 2)

  • EMHT Mailbox #3 (segment 3)

  • EMHT Mailbox #4 (segment 4)

  • Mojave Road Mailbox #1 (Mojave Road)

  • Mojave Road Mailbox #2 (Goffs Schoolhouse)

Discovery Points

The entire East Mojave Heritage Trail contains over 100 discovery points curated by OTG, many of which are referenced in the 4 volume EMHT Guide Books by Dennis Casebier. If you'd like a detailed guide of the EMHT, we highly recommend purchasing a subscription that contains the specific locations of each discovery point, recommended camp sites, EMHT mail boxes (approximate locations) and other interesting points of interest. The complete list of discovery points is available to our subscribers on the Digital Mapping Files download page.


A short sample of discovery points includes:

  • Kelso Depot

  • Curtis Cabin

  • Riggs Cabin

  • Jake's Cabin

  • Zzyzx

  • Toltec Turquoise Mine

  • Coliseum Mine

  • Greer Mining Camp


Additional Resources

We highly recommend purchasing Dennis Casebier's 4 volume guidebooks series for the East Mojave Heritage Trail. The guidebooks can be purchased online from the Mojave Desert Heritage & Cultural Association.



 

Maps + Navigation


Digital Mapping Files



 

Resources


Land Managers

Other



Gallery


 

Terms of Use: Should you decide to travel a route that is published on Overlandtrailguides.com, you do so at your own risk. Always take the appropriate precautions when planning and traveling, including checking the current local weather, permit requirements, trail/road conditions, and land/road closures. While traveling, obey all public and private land use restrictions a


nd rules, and carry the appropriate safety, recovery, and navigational equipment. The information found on this site is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps), and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by Overland Trail Guides, the route accuracy and current conditions of roads and trails cannot be guaranteed.



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