From Desert USA.....
Perhaps the best treasure in eastern California's Mojave National Preserve is a pair of tracks that cross the middle of it. This famous trail is the Mojave Road, one of the early routes that brought American pioneers to California. This trail is unique in that for most Mojave Road in the Lanfair Valley of this 138 mile stretch it is in much the same condition as the pioneers would have found it, and a lot of the trail passes through country that is virtually unchanged since prehistoric times. The road bisects the Preserve, wandering from waterhole to waterhole, and is mostly a 4-wheel-drive trail.
The Mojave Road was a main wagon trail for only a relatively short time, for the two decades after the civil war, before the railroads came. The railways created an easier route to the south complete with oases on the bitter-dry deserts. While it was used, the Mojave Road was a route plagued by hostile Indians, lack of water, long stretches of sand and rough hill climbs. For caravans of travelers and a handful of soldiers, it was a proving ground that brought out the best and the worst of them.
To those who took the Mojave Road by foot, horse and wagon, and the few men stationed along it to defend it, this uncommonly beautiful country was a peculiar form of hell. Dry and desolate, it was, and still is. To those men and women coming from the lush forests of the east and south, the desert land was a barren expanse to be barely tolerated before arriving in the Promised Land of California. It is still a dangerous stretch of road.