Without a question, the Mojave National Preserve is one of the wildest units in the National Park system, as it spans over 1,600,000 acres of the Mojave Desert. In this vast area, visitors will find abandoned mines, abandoned homesteads, memorials, and a variety of other things. The park also has a number of rock art sites, ranging from the easy to find (along the Rings Loop Trail), and difficult to find, requiring four wheel drive, exploring and directions. In between the easy to find, and the hard to find is the rock art site commonly called "Seventeen Mile Petroglyphs". The site is named for the nearby Seventeen Mile point in the park; and does have some rock art. Having said that, the site is somewhat difficult to locate, and the rock art along the wash in part, has been defaced, or supplemented by additional drawings, leaving the visitor to wonder which drawings are real, and which are modern. Having said that, attempting to find the rock art is a great adventure for those visiting the Mojave National Preserve for a first time, or repeat visit.
Directions: The rock art is located near Seventeen Mile point, some thirteen miles to the south of Baker along Kelbaker Road, and some twenty-one and a half miles (21.5) north of Kelso. Irrespective of whether one is traveling North or South, the key area to look for is a slight turnout on the East side of Kelbaker Road near a wash. From this point, travelers will want to head up the wash, along a readily visible foot trail along the base of a small eroded lava flow. Carved into the face of this flow above the wash, are the petroglyphs and other drawings. The total distance that one should hike to see this rock art is no more than a tenth of a mile from the dirt turnout.
Tips: As noted before, Mojave National Preserve is a very remote area, and travelers through the preserve should be prepared year-round, as cellular phone service is sporadic at best. For those that like photography, the top of the lava flow which can be easily accessed is a great spot to shoot sunset photos of the surrounding area.