Kelso Dunes on a windy day. Photo courtesy of John Fowler.

Sandboarding in Kelso Dunes, CA

The Kelso Dunes, also known as the Kelso Dune Field, is the largest sand dunes area in the Mojave Desert, occupying 45 square miles. They are the third largest dunes in the United States. Located south of Baker, California, Kelso Dunes is a protected area of the Mojave National Preserve, a scenic area inaccessible to off-road vehicles. These are so-called “singing dunes”, which may appear to emit sounds under specific environmental conditions.

Sandboarding tips

Evening primroses, ricegrass and other types of plants have started stabilizing on the dunes and you may get in trouble if you disturb their natural habitat, so make sure to only practice dune boarding away from vegetation.


It’s a short but intense hike up Kelso Dunes. The landscape resembles a “sea of sand” or lunar craters out of a Star Wars movie, and it’s worth to visit early in the morning or late at night, when the sky is very dark. The wind can get problematic so make sure to wear appropriate clothing.

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