Last Updated on June 10, 2023

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.

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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?