Mojave Road

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
File:Mojave-Road-0135.jpg
Vehicles traveling the Mojave Road stop for a break at Marl Springs

The Mojave Road or Mojave Trail is a historic route and present day dirt road across what is now the Mojave National Preserve in the Mojave Desert in the United States. This rough road stretches 140 miles (230 km) from the site of the old Fort Mohave (on the west bank of the Colorado River, roughly 10 miles southwest of Bullhead City, Arizona) to the site of the old Camp Cady (on the west bank of the Mojave River, roughly 12 miles northeast of Newberry Springs, California). A four-wheel drive vehicle is required for all but a few short stretches of this road, which is unmaintained. Under optimal conditions, its full length can be travelled in 2 to 3 days.[1]

History

A traditional thoroughfare of desert-dwelling Native Americans, the Mohave Trail much later served Spanish missionaries, explorers, and foreign colonizers and settlers from the 18th to 19th centuries, and ran between watering holes across the Mojave Desert between the Colorado River and Mojave River then following it to the Cajon Pass, the gap between the San Bernardino Mountains and San Gabriel Mountains, into Southern California.[2] The watering holes recur at intervals of about 60 to 70 miles.[3]

Francisco Garcés, the Spanish Franciscan missionary, traveled the trail with the expedition of Juan Bautista de Anza in 1776. José María de Zalvidea, the zealous Franciscan administrator of Mission San Gabriel also crossed the trail in 1806, reportedly converting five indigenous Mojaves near present-day Hesperia. In 1826, Jedediah Smith became the first north American to travel the Mojave Road. From 1829-30, Mexican traders from New Mexico established the routes that came to be called the Old Spanish Trail trade route to California. The first of these a shortcut of the Armijo's route intercepted the Mojave's trail at a point just east of Yermo. This place was later called "Fork of the Road" where the Old Spanish Trail divided from what came to be the Mojave Road to the Colorado River. Subsequenty in 1830, the Mohave's trail became part of what became the Main Route or Central Route of the Old Spanish Trail, linking up with it from the north a dozen miles west of the Colorado River in Piute Valley and following it westward to the link up with Armijo's route at the Fork of the Road. Now consolidated the Old Spanish Trail then followed the Mohave's trail along the Mojave River and over the mountains into San Bernardino Valley at Cajon Pass.

The land passed into American hands in 1848 and in early 1858 the Mohave Trail became the Mojave Road, connected to the newly pioneered Beale's Wagon Road across northern New Mexico Territory from Fort Defiance to Beale's Crossing on the Colorado River where it linked up with the Mojave Road. Wagon trains of settlers coming west on the Santa Fe Trail, soon followed Beale's Wagon Road and the Mojave Road into Southern California. Beale's road was shorter than the route via the more southern Southern Emigrant Trail and it was cooler in summer and snow free in winter, had better forage and was better watered. Soon hostiities began between the Mohave's and the settlers, triggering the Mohave War.

From the time of the Mohave War the trail came under the purview of the U.S. government. Army posts were established at Fort Mojave, at Beale's Crossing in 1859 and after the Bitter Spring Expedition at Camp Cady, 10.9 miles east of Fork of the Road, in 1860. Later in the 1860s, smaller outposts were established east of Camp Cady along the trail and regular patrols instituted. The army protected the settlers and travelers from the attacks of the resident Paiute, Mojave and Chemehuevi Native Americans until 1871. This also opened the way for large mining development in the Mojave Desert region of San Bernardino County and agricultural development in the Victor Valley area.

The route today

The eastern end of the Mojave Road begins at the edge of the Colorado River north of Needles and the western terminus lies beyond the Rasor Off-Highway Vehicle Area and the Afton Canyon Natural Area near the Manix Wash.[4]

Landmarks

The following list of markers follows east to west travel.

  • The Colorado River – Where the trail begins. (mile 0) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Piute Creek – Natural spring with trees and plants growing all year round. (mile 23) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Fort Piute – Next to the spring, this fort was built in 1867 by the US infantry. (mile 23) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Lanfair Valley – Cattle ranches have been here since 1880. (mile 34) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Indian Hill, Indian Well – North of the Mojave Road at mile 40, there is an old well of debatable origin. (mile 40) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Joshua Tree Forest – The road gets very narrow in this thick forest in Lanfair Valley. (mile 47) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Rock Spring – The biggest watering hole along the Mojave Road. The stream flows down large boulders. There is an old cabin here. (mile 49) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Government Holes – Another water supply near Rock Spring, with an old concrete trough. (mile 52) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Cedar Canyon – The highest point of the trip, crossing the Mid Hills you will reach 5,000 ft (1,500 m) elevation. (mile 56) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Kelso-Cima Road – In the middle of the trip, this is the last paved road you will see for a long time (mile 62) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Marl Springs – Another spring with a primitive concrete trough. (mile 70) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Mojave Road Mail Box – Sign your name at this solitary flagpole and continue on. (mile 74) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Willow Wash – Heavy sand alongside the Cinder Cones lava flow, parallels Kelbaker Rd. (mile 77) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Kelbaker Road – The paved road between Baker and Kelso Junction.Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Soda Lake – A large dry lake; proceed with caution. You may have to drive around in the winter. (mile 97) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Soda Springs (Zzyzx) – Small private building on the edge of Soda Lake. Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Travelers Monument – Also known as Government Monument, travelers carry a rock across the dry lake and add it to the pile. (mile 100) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Rasor OHV Area – Open use area. (mile 103) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Sand Dunes – There are a few soft sand dunes along here that you can play on. (mile 106) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Afton Canyon – Deep canyon with steep walls, riparian habitat restoration, and plenty of scenery. (mile 116) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Mojave River crossing – The only water crossing on this trail. (mile 121) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Manix Wash – The exit point of the Mojave Road. (mile 133) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Camp Cady – a former U.S. Army Camp, on the Mojave River (mile 136.1) Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
  • Fork of the Road – Location were the Mojave Road split off from the route of the Old Spanish Trail east of Yermo. (mile 147)

See also

References

  1. Casebier, DG (2010). "General Guidelines". Mojave Road Guide: an Adventure Through Time (4th ed.). Essex, California: Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association. pp. 39–38. ISBN 978-0-914224-37-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Wilcox, L. "The Mojave Road". DesertUSA. Retrieved 2013-09-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Robinson, WW (1962). The Story of San Bernardino County. San Bernardino: Title Insurance and Trust Company. p. 78.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Afton Canyon Natural Area". U.S. Dept of Interior, Bureau of Land Management. Retrieved 2010-06-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links