Location and Facilities
How to Get to the Desert Studies CenterThe Desert Studies Center is located at Soda Springs (a.k.a. “Zzyzx”), on the western shore of Soda Dry Lake, and in the northwest corner of the Mojave National Preserve. We are accessed via Interstate 15, the main highway between the Los Angeles area of Southern California, and Las Vegas, Nevada. From the west, take I-15 North towards Barstow and Las Vegas. About 58 miles past Barstow, take the Zzyzx Road exit, and turn right. From the Las Vegas area, take I-15 South towards Baker/Barstow/Los Angeles, and take the Zzyzx Road exit (about 6 miles past Baker, California) and turn left.
Once on Zzyzx Road, continue south to the DSC - at road’s end - about 4.3 miles. The road is paved along most of the route (wildlife water along the short dirt section – please drive SLOWLY). Guests with reservations may pass through the entry gate, turn left and follow signs to the parking area. NOTE: visiting members of the public must park in the National Park Service parking area, on the right just before passing through our gate. Visitors are free to explore the area on foot during daylight hours. Dogs must be on leads while visiting, and are not allowed in the buildings.
The AreaThe Center is situated on the shore of Soda Dry Lake at an elevation of 237 meters (938 feet) and at the western edge of the Mojave National Preserve. As such it serves as a convenient departure point for groups visiting the Death Valley National Park, the Kelso Dunes, the Afton Canyon riparian areas, the Cima Dome and Volcanic area, the historic Mojave Road, the Early Man Site at Calico, the Providence, New York, Granite, and Clark mountains, and many other interesting features and localities in the East Mojave Desert.
Instructional & Research Facilities
The Center can accommodate up to 75 individuals in dormitory style rooms each holding two to twelve persons. A small number of private/faculty rooms are also available. For those intending to utilize the facility for an extended period of time, two long-term researcher residences are available. Each is equipped with its own full kitchen and bathroom with enough space to accommodate up to five individuals. All rooms are equipped with single, double or bunk beds with mattresses; guests must supply their own bedding or sleeping bag and pillow. All dorm rooms have heaters, and are cooled by evaporative coolers in the warmer months. The community bathhouse provides sinks, hot showers and flush toilets. There are no camping facilities at the Center, however, camping is permitted in the Razor Open Area approximately four miles south of the facility, accessible from the Razor Road exit off I-15. RVs can be accommodated with approved advanced notice, however, there are no utility hookups or dump station at the DSC.
- Arrange for catering, either through the DSC (groups of 10 or more) or independently (see below)
- Utilize the kitchen facilities at the DSC for self-service of group meals (see below)
- Dine at one of the several restaurants in Baker (20 minutes from the DSC)
Self-service - Groups choosing to provide their own food service using the DSC kitchen facilities or their own equipment must comply with certain federal regulations as required by the National Park Service and the County of San Bernardino. Contact the Administrative Coordinator for a permit forms and instructions. The DSC will pay your permit fee and the process can be completed by Fax. Individuals who are not part of a group may prepare their own meals at the DSC without permit, but access to kitchen facilities may be limited. There are both outdoor and indoor dining areas at the DSC along with access to gas barbecues on our patio.
Dine Out - A list of restaurant facilities in is available on request from the administrative office.
Utilities at the Desert Studies Center
AccessibilityMost facilities at the Center are wheelchair accessible.