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Amboy Crater Road
Backroads Around Las Vegas, Mojave National Preserve
Amboy Crater Road
Amboy Crater RoadRoute 66 approaching Amboy Crater Road (view W)

Overview

Amboy Crater Road, or more properly "Crater Road," is a 0.5-mile, paved road that provides access to the Amboy Crater Picnic Area, Amboy Crater Overlook, and the Amboy Crater Trail.

Amboy Crater is a volcano that last erupted about 10,000 years ago, not even the blink of an eye in geologic terms. The parking area ends on the edge of a lava flow, and visitors can walk around and explore. The lava flow shows little evidence of erosion, and therefore looks like it might have solidified only last week. Windblown sand covers some areas and there are some plants, but much of the lava looks "fresh."

Amboy Crater is located just outside Mojave National Preserve and is not administered by the National Park Service. Rather, this area is administered by the BLM as Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark (PDF).

Link to map.

Amboy Crater Road
Amboy Crater entrance sign (view SE)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about being in the desert, ... the road is paved and suitable for 2WD-HC vehicles without unusual hazards, but it is subject to washouts during flashfloods. Looking at the tire marks on the pavement, drivers might want to watch out for idiots doing donuts in the parking lot too.

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.

Amboy Crater Road
Amboy Crater Road (view SW)

Getting to the Road

Amboy Crater Road is located south of Mojave National Preserve, about 2-1/2 hours south of Las Vegas. From town, drive out to the Mojave National Preserve Visitor Center at Kelso, California.

From the Visitor Center, continue south on Kelbaker Road. Drive over the mountains, exit the National Preserve, and continue south under Interstate 40. From the interstate, drive due south 11.5 miles to a T-intersection with National Trails Highway, also known as Historic Route 66.

At Route 66, turn right and drive west through the "town" of Amboy and crossing over the railroad tracks. After crossing the railroad tracks, Route 66 passes Amboy Road (to 29 Palms) on the left. In another 1.1 miles, Route 66 arrives at Amboy Crater Road, on the left.

Amboy Crater Road
Amboy Crater Road approaching overnight parking area (view SW)

The Road

From Route 66 at Amboy Crater Road (Table 1, Site 1755), Crater Road heads south directly towards Amboy Crater. The road passes a large parking area on the right (overflow and overnight parking), then bends to the right.

At about 0.5 miles from Route 66, Crater Road ends at a large parking area (Site 1756) with covered and uncovered picnic tables, vault toilets, and an elevated overlook. This is also the trailhead parking for the hike up Amboy Crater.

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Approaching Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark monument
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Approaching the end of the road (view NW)
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Covered picnic tables
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Vault toilets
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Information sign at edge of pavement (view NW)
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Trail sign at edge of pavement (view W)
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Information sign at start of Amboy Crater Trail (view W)
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Information sign (view S)
Amboy Crater Road
Text on part of the information sign (everyone needs an editor)
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Historical Sites sign near start of Amboy Crater Trail (view N)

Table 1. Highway Coordinates and Distances based on GPS Data (NAD27). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (gpx) file.

Wpt. Location Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
1755 Route 66 at Amboy Crater Rd 34.56032 115.77382 677 0.00 0.00 Yes
1756 Amboy Crater Trailhead Parking 34.55697 115.78043 645 0.53 0.53 Yes

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 151228

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