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2020 - Trip Report - Re-establishing the East Mojave Heritage Trail

Re-establishing the
East Mojave Heritage Trail

By John Marnell

The East Mojave Heritage Trail in four segments was created by Dennis G. Casebier in the late 1980s and into the early ‘90s. Each part of about 160 miles was featured in a guide book that contained historic, flora, and geologic information along with a detailed road log and mileages. With the implementation of the 1994 Desert Protection Act the trail was cut in 13 places by newly created wildernesses thus making the guide books useless as strictly navigational instructions. The experienced navigator, with good research, could still make use of many portions of the EMHT as Nelson Miller and others have shown. Today, however, a new and comprehensive set of trail route guidelines are being created to once again make most of the original aspects of the EMHT readily available with detailed instructions, maps, and a GPS track dedicated to keeping the user on a legal route utilizing wilderness bypasses.

Mr. Billy Creech, from Riverside, became interested in the EMHT a couple of years ago and has spent countless hours researching wilderness maps and communicating with many knowledgeable people to keep this project moving forward. Some months ago, Billy maneuvered around the East Mojave on the newly modified EMHT to assess its viability and equally importantly to determine if the roads and trails used previously were passable for the average four-wheeler. He found a few sections certainly more challenging than anticipated, with many parts showing little evidence of being driven on in years. He also, infrequently, came upon some of the original rock cairns used to mark turns that are still in place these 30 years later - all in all it was a great remote desert off-highway experience. Billy wrote up his “adventure” a few months back and you can find it here:

Today, May 28th, work is continuing as refinements continue to both the maps and routing detail. It is anticipated that the first two segments “Needles to Ivanpah” and “Ivanpah to Rocky Ridge” will be completed before the end of June. Those of you that are fortunate to own a set of the four guide books will be able to coordinate the bypass, alternate routes, and maps with your individual books. Those who do not have the books, they will soon be available on the Mojave Desert Heritage & Cultural Association website under “store.” Additionally, the Mojave River Valley Museum has the books and you can call them to place an order (760) 256-5452. Use of the appropriate EMHT guidebook is essential to finding and staying on the correct route

Here is, perhaps, the most important part – to follow these newly identified and coordinated legal routes you must have the supplemental written directions and maps for each EMHT segment. The maps may need to be printed in color to be able to differentiate between the original and modified tracks. However, we are trying to develop a “work-around” on the route display so that a color printer may not be necessary. Also, a GPS track will be available and is a great help with route identification. It is anticipated that both the supplemental directions and GPS routing (as a Google Earth .kml file) will be available for download on the Goffs, website soon. If you have questions or feedback, please email Billy Creech at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 ~ John