Sand Dunes Alongside Amargosa River Sand Dune Formation Twin hills
Mesquite Tree in Sand Dunes Mojave Desert Dune Landscape Click images to enlarge Rippling Dune Formation

Mojave Dunes

A Project of the California Curves Series


Dunes are less common and smaller in the deserts of North America than they are in Africa and Asia. Luckily for us in California, dunes are about scale, not size. All patches of sand offer the same aesthetic potential: unlimited.

I started noticing these dunes on maps years ago. Tiny, remote, and no road within two miles of their edge (a rough-looking road at that)—visitation had to be pretty low. Off-roaders lost legal access with the Desert Protection Act in 1994, so the dunes should be fairly pristine now.

I finally made the drive and hike in 2005, then watched through the afternoon as the dunes developed a "coral glow, which makes them appear to float above their rocky surroundings" (from Death Valley and the Northern Mojave: A Visitor's Guide).