My trip to Mt Charleston was an amazing one and like any trip the journey can be just as important as the destination. I was headed to Las Vegas to see my good buddy Mike and do a little backpacking. The time frame had me being a “professional that adventures” and fitting it all into a three-day weekend. Mike didn’t get off work until midnight, so I had to either drive up Thursday night or Friday morning which doesn’t make for a fun hiking timeline if I drove up Friday morning.
So, I opted for the Thursday night run and since I had a little while until I needed to get here, I opted for the road less traveled. At the risk of sounding very. Southern Californian we usually take the I 15 all the way to Vegas through the usual stops and traffic but make it there in about five to six hours depending on traffic. And usually you want to get to Vegas as fast as you can and start the party, well this trip I had a little time to kill. I opted for my favorite Vegas route, the road less traveled through the desert and some amazing California landmarks.
Leaving from Kit Fox Outfitters in Ramona CA I headed northeast past Ranchita and into Borrego Springs and Anza Borrego State Park, California’s largest state park. I always enjoy this drive through Warner Springs, and it has some great views as you drop down the grade and into the desert. Plus, a nice drive through Anza Borrego and down some pretty worn desert roads.
Once through Anza Borrego it’s a left on Highway 86 along the iconic Salton Sea through Mecca and up to Highway 10. This is where I depart and head north on Cottonwood Springs Road and into Joshua Tree National Park! Lucky for me it was a full moon so I was able to really enjoy the drive through and make a couple stops and explore a little at the Cholla Gardens and around some of the rock formations there.
This route took me through the entire park ad spit me out at beautiful 29 Palms… where I finally had some cell receptions and checked in with the boss. This route isn’t exactly the fastest route so I would have to stop at certain points and recalculate my trip to get to the spots I wanted to go. From there I was headed to the historic Route 66 past Amboy and up the Mojave National Preserve via Kelbaker Road. This took me to Kelso then Kelso Cima Road to Nipton and a quick merge onto the I 15.
The South to North route through the preserve is actually pretty quick and a nice way to get in another neat spot. I really enjoyed this route because I was able to hit so much with little traffic in one night the trip it’s self took me around eight hours with stops and pictures, since I had the time it was worth it between the sites and most importantly the lack of traffic.
While it might sound a little cliché, this was about the trip as much as the destination for me and look I’m writing about it and I bet this is a lot more entertaining than if I had just taken the I15 the whole way, ha-ha. I would suggest that if you have the time to take this route to Vegas or for any other trips always see if you can in a little more adventure on every trip by planning a route a little less traveled.