Cycling the Mojave Road

The Mojave Road is a genuine, blood-and-guts Old West transdesert wagon trail using a few waterholes to cross 139 miles of remote outback between Fort Mojave, Arizona, and Camp Cady, near Barstow in California. Long before it was used by supply wagons in the 1800s, it was a link in an ancient trade route between the Pacific coast and the Hopi pueblos in New Mexico. Nowadays it's a four-wheel drive trail running across remote backcountry that's almost as wild as it ever was in the old days.

It's a rugged trail, rocky over four mountain ranges and sandy across the deserts, but it is rideable. It demands physical endurance - outdoor savvy - thorough preparation - and an appetite for adventure. That last is essential - it'll see you through when all else fails.

There's nothing but outback in the hundred miles between Fort Mojave, and Baker, CA, the nearest town on the western end of the trail. The waterholes are about 30 miles apart and mainly for emergency use - not quite up to modern standards of hygiene. But before the motor vehicle era, desert travellers had a long tradition of caching supplies of food and water, and then betting their lives that the supplies would be there when needed. Not knowing the condition of the trail or the waterholes, I set four caches along the route.

Researching the trail, I found some excellent material, but it was all by and for motorized travellers. As to whether it was practical on a bike, I had to go see for myself. These pages aim to fix that.


Fore-Log: Overview, Scouting, and Caching


Day 1, Fort Mojave to Piute Wash


Day 2, the Piute Range


Day 3, Lanfair Valley


Day 4, Rock Spring & Government Holes


Day 5, The Marl Mountains


Day 6, Soda Lake


day 7, Zzyzx


After-Log: Riding to Barstow


Notes on gear & the rough-roadster


Links for more info