Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Mojave Road

The Mojave Road southeast of Baker, California

The Mojave Road is an ancient trading trail which crosses the Mojave Desert and bisects the Mojave National Preserve from east to west. In former times it connected the villages of the Mojave Indians along the Colorado River with the tribes of the California coast. The Mojave were an agricultural people who were blessed with an abundance of crops, giving them great freedom to travel.

In 1776 a Spaniard, Friar Francisco Garces, became the first European to mingle with the Mojave and utilize their network of desert trails. The Mojave Indians guided him from the Colorado River to the mission of San Gabriel.

Garces wrote about his 1776 journey and produced this map.

Following the natural contours of the land, the Mojave Road was the preferred means of transportation through the area until the coming of the Union Pacific railroad in 1890. The road is popular today as a 4 x 4 route.

Indian petroglyphs near the Mojave Road
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