Recreate Responsibly

The mission of the Mojave Desert Land Trust is to protect the Mojave Desert ecosystem, the relics of its history and its stunning scenery. Below you can find ways of recreating responsibly in this rich and varied landscape.

Know before you go

  • Travel with plenty of water. Don’t assume you can find drinks on your trip! One gallon of water per person, per day is the absolute minimum that should be carried.
  • Always tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
  • Always start with a full tank of gas. Fill up when you pass a station, even if you still have plenty of fuel. It may be a long distance to the next open station.
  • In summer, layered clothing slows dehydration and minimizes exposure. Good hiking shoes, loose fitting natural-fiber clothing, a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses and sunscreen are a must.
  • In winter, temperatures can often drop below freezing with icy winds. Bring extra warm clothing.
  • Watch the sky. Flash floods may occur any time thunderheads are in sight. Weather can change in the desert quite rapidly. Do not remain in dry washes (arroyos) which can flood suddenly.
  • Cellphone reception can be spotty to nonexistent. Don’t rely on your phone or GPS maps to navigate.
  • Always carry an up-to-date printed map of the area before exploring by foot or vehicle. USGS topographic maps show land contours and specific features.
  • Think before you leave paved roads! If an incident occurs on a remote road, it can be a long time until help arrives.
  • Two-wheel drive vehicles are generally ok, but 4WD can be required. Check conditions of dirt roads before venturing to a remote location. Roads may become impassable in bad weather or from past storms. Be safe and drive with care.
  • Be prepared for emergencies. Have adequate first aid supplies, including proper medication for anyone who requires it.
  • Pack appropriately. Water, sunscreen, a shade hat and sturdy walking shoes are a few of the obvious items – but download our handy Desert Pack List to make sure you don’t forget anything important!
  • Read more about desert safety basics here.


Read More

Tread Lightly and ride responsibly! Download Tread Lightly guidelines here.

For more information on riding legally and safely in the desert, visit: Maps for our region are available through their online store, at:

Bureau of Land Management highlights OHV Safety Week.

Leave No Trace offers guidelines for protecting the outdoors by teaching people to enjoy it responsibly. Download Leave No Trace guide here.

Go to our page on Reading the Landscape for a set of guidelines to help artists make informed decisions about engaging with this land and its delicate ecosystems. These tips are a resource to advise artists throughout their creative processes, to ensure that each step is done in a way that will preserve the landscapes for future generations. For more detailed information on how to responsibly create art in a desert environment, download our additional suggestions and resources here. If you have further questions about an art project you are considering, please feel free to reach out to the Mojave Desert Land Trust.

For information on visiting public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, go to your local office:

California State Parks, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division:

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Non-Emergency Dispatch, Desert – (760) 956-5001

Thank you to Extreme Terrain for support of MDLT’s responsible recreation efforts!