Last Updated on May 31, 2024

The Kelso Dunes are one of the four main Californian locations for sandboarding in the Mojave Desert (although there are plenty more dunes along the coast of SoCal).

The dune system is the third-largest in the US and one of the few places where it is possible to witness the natural phenomenon of “singing” (or “booming”) sand, so definitely worth a visit!

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Kelso Dunes - Mojave Preserve
Kelso Dunes. Photo: NPS / Kelsey Graczyk

The Kelso Dunes are located south of Baker, California. The area is a protected region of the Mojave National Preserve, a picturesque area inaccessible to off-road vehicles, but sandboarding is tolerated as long as you stay away from vegetated areas. It is worth to venture on a hike amongst the “sea of sand” which resembles many craters from another planet.

When to go

The dunes are accessible 24/7. The best time to visit is winter (from October until May), when the sand temperature is not too hot but weather is still rather pleasant.

Wind and dust can be an issue, so make sure to wear appropriate clothing, but keep in mind that windy days are also when you are most likely to experience the booming dunes phenomenon, since the wind particles shift the sand in a way that generates a very audible sound, as if the dunes were singing!

Getting there

Site Rules

Camping and firepits are only allowed in specified areas. Open fire is prohibited everywhere at the site, and so is flying drones of any kind unless you have a special permit. For a complete set of regulations, refer to the National Park Service website.


Sandboards for Sale

Slip Face Sandboards Diamondback Board
Slip Face Sandboards’
Diamond Back Terrain Sandboard
– 9 ply maple veneer deck
– High pressure laminate base, high gloss
– Dakine adjustable foot straps
– Slip Face Sandboards multi-positionable foot pads
– Swallow tail design

Slip Face Sandboard Kestrel WingTail
Slip Face Sandboards’
Kestrel Wing 127
– 9 ply maple veneer deck
– Low friction base
– Dakine adjustable foot straps
– Slip Face Sandboards multi-positionable foot pads
– Swallow tail design

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  • The Kelso Dunes are located in the Mojave National Preserve in California.
  • The dunes offer 45 miles of recreation closed to vehicles, with sandboarding equipment available for rent.
  • Visitors can witness the unique “singing” or “booming” sand phenomenon at Kelso Dunes.
  • The dunes are home to a fragile ecosystem with rare plant and insect species, including endemic species.
  • Visitors can take a three-mile roundtrip hike to the top of the dunes and explore the varied shapes of the sand.
  • Camping and fire restrictions apply, and drone use is prohibited without a special permit.
  • The dunes are accessible 24/7, with the best time to visit being during the winter months for pleasant weather.
  • Kelso Dunes host various animal species like sidewinder snakesMojave fringe-toed lizardskit foxeskangaroo rats, and more.
  • A recommended experience is hiking to the summit of the dunes timed for sunset to enjoy the stunning colors of the desert sky.

USA Sandboarding Map

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Gizelle

    Do you know of any places you can rent sandboards in Nevada to go sandboarding at Kelso Dunes?

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