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Aiken Mine Road and Lava Tube Access Road
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Mojave National Preserve
Aiken Mine Road
Aiken Mine Road
Kelbaker Road at Aiken Mine Road (view NW)

Overview

Aiken Mine Road is an old mining and ranching road that runs across desert flats and skirts the edge of lava flows, providing access to the Lava Tube Trail and wild places beyond. Most of the road is wide and relatively well-graded (mostly two lanes wide), but it is sandy in places, rough in a few spots with some rocks, and it can be washboarded.

Out to the Lava Tube Trail, the 4.8-mile dirt road traverses sandy flats in the Mojave Desert Scrub habitat that can be full of spring wildflowers. The hills are cinder cones and lava flows, providing interesting terrain and broad views.

Link to map.

Aiken Mine Road
Kelbaker Road at Aiken Mine Road (view N)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... the road is fast and easy in a 2WD-HC vehicle, but it should be passable in a carefully driven sedan. Drive slowly and carefully, and watch for on-coming traffic on blind turns. If driving a sedan, inquire locally about current conditions and use your own good judgment about the road conditions, as the road is subject to washouts.

While out in the desert, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, even though the road is short, the area is remote, so be sure to bring the 10 Essentials.

Aiken Mine Road
Aiken Mine Road (view NE)

Getting to the Road

This road is located in Mojave National Preserve, about 2 hours south of Las Vegas. From town, drive out to the Mojave National Preserve Visitor Center at Kelso.

From the Visitor Center, drive west on Kelso-Cima Road a few yards to Kelbaker Road (Table 1, Site 0837). Turn right (towards Interstate-15) and drive north and west for 14.9 miles to Aiken Mine Road (Site 0841), on the right.

Alternatively, from Las Vegas, drive south on Interstate-15 for about 85 miles to the town of Baker (Site 0840). Exit the Interstate at Highway 127 in Baker and turn south (left) on Kelbaker Road towards Kelso. From the center of the interstate, drive 19.7 miles to Aiken Mine Road (Site 0841), on the left.

Aiken Mine Road
Aiken Mine Road (view NE)

The Road

At the Aiken Mine Road turnoff (Site 0841), there is a large (about 50 yards long), dirt parking area on the northeast side of the road. This is the only large pullout in the area and makes a good landmark.

From Kelbaker Road, Aiken Mine Road runs northeast. At about 1.5 miles from the pavement, the road passes a side road to the right, and shortly thereafter, passes an old corral with a water tank and an old truck body on the left (north) side of the road.

Aiken Mine Road

Continuing northeast, the road winds about but generally trends northeast skirting the edge of the lava flows.

At about 4.5 miles out, the road forks (Site 0844). Here, the Aiken Mine Road bends to the right, and staying left, drivers actually go straight onto the one-lane Lava Tube Access Road. Watch for a small sign at the fork.

On Lava Tube Access Road, the road passes another historic corral on the left (north) side of the road (0.2 miles from the fork). After another 0.1 miles (0.3 miles from Aiken Mine Road and 4.8 miles from the pavement) the 2WD road ends at a turn-about and parking area (Site 0842). Sedans must stop here, but with a 4WD vehicle, drivers can continue up the road.

Aiken Mine Road
Aiken Mine Road (note cinders at road edge; view NE)
Aiken Mine Road
Yikes! Watch for cross traffic -- even out here
Aiken Mine Road
Spur road to first historic corral (view N)
Aiken Mine Road
First historic corral (view N)
Aiken Mine Road Aiken Mine Road
Aiken Mine Road
Road runs along edge of lava flow (view NE)
Aiken Mine Road
Aiken Mine Road, approaching the sandy patch (view NE)
Aiken Mine Road
Aiken Mine Road, at a rough patch (view NE)
Aiken Mine Road
Aiken Mine Road, beyond the worst parts (view NE)
Aiken Mine Road
Badly wash-boarded section (view NE)
Aiken Mine Road
Bumpy section with cinder-rocks in the road (view NE)
Aiken Mine Road Aiken Mine Road
Aiken Mine Road
Aiken Mine Road (view NE)
Aiken Mine Road
Aiken Mine Road approaching Lava Tube Road (view NE)
Aiken Mine Road
Aiken Mine Road at Lava Tube Road (view NE)
Aiken Mine Road
Sign at Aiken Mine Road-Lava Tube Road intersection (view NE)
Aiken Mine Road
Lava Tube Road (view NE)
Aiken Mine Road
Lava Tube Road approaching second historic corral (view NE)
Aiken Mine Road
Lava Tube Road at second historic corral (view NE)
Aiken Mine Road
Not the parking area (view NE)
Aiken Mine Road
Lava Tube Road (view NE)
Aiken Mine Road
Lava Tube Road approaching Lava Tube Trailhead parking (view NE)
Aiken Mine Road
2WD parking for the Lava Tube Trail (view NE)
Aiken Mine Road
Start of 4WD road, trail to Lava Tube (view NE)
Aiken Mine Road
Preparing to depart the trailhead (view SW)
Aiken Mine Road
Returning past the first corral (view SW)
Aiken Mine Road
Returning past Mojave Road (view SW)
Aiken Mine Road
Returning to the pavement (view SW)

Table 1. Highway Coordinates (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Site Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft) Verified
0837 Kelbaker Rd at Kelso-Cima Rd 622882 3875002 35.01197 115.65325 2,119 Yes
0840 I-15 at Baker 584386 3902446 35.26336 116.07229 951 Yes
0841 Kelbaker Rd at Aiken Mine Rd 610246 3890758 35.15548 115.78961 3,133 Yes
0842 Aiken Mine Rd at Lava Tube 2WD Parking 613562 3897252 35.21365 115.75232 3,560 Yes
0843 Lava Tube 4WD Parking 613628 3897569 35.21650 115.75155 3,575 Yes
0844 Aiken Mine Rd at Lava Tube Access Rd 613317 3896904 35.21054 115.75506 3,560 Yes

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 151227

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