Providence Mountains State Recreation Area - California

US National Parks and Monuments Travel Guide: US-Parks.com

Providence Mountains State Recreation Area is located on the east side of the Providence Mountain range and has dramatic views of the surrounding Mojave Desert. The lower elevations feature many varieties of cactus and yucca in a creosote scrub habitat. The bright red rhyolite in the higher elevations are home to bighorn sheep and pinyon pines.The park's visitor center is located in the historic home of Jack and Ida Mitchell, who ran a resort here from 1934 through 1954.

Other features include Mitchell Caverns Natural Preserve. El Pakiva and Tecopa Caverns are filled with intricate limestone formations and can be visited by taking cavern tours.

Tour Times:

(No tours Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day)

Winter Schedule

Labor Day to Memorial Day - Weekends: 10:00 AM, 1:30 PM, 3:00 PM, Weekdays: 1:30 PM

Summer Schedule

July 1, 2010 to September 4, 2010 - 1:30 PM Saturday and Sunday only, No tours Monday thru Friday.

Tour fees are $6 for adult, $3 for children aged 6-16. Children 5 years old and under are free, but not recommended. Tour times and fees may change without notice.

Tours are limited to 25 persons, and often sell out on busy weekends and holiday weeks. Tour reservations are required for groups of ten or more. Reservations are by mail and must be made at least 3 weeks in advance; a form will be mailed to you at your request by calling (760) 928-2586.

Please Note: The park will be closed for the month of August 2009 for annual maintenance work. This seasonal closure is not related to the proposed budget cutbacks.

Location/Directions

The park is located in the eastern Mojave Desert off of Interstate 40, 56 miles west of Needles, 116 miles east of Barstow, and 16 miles northwest of the Essex Road exit. Located at an elevation of 4,300 feet, the park is surrounded by one of the newest National Parks, Mojave National Preserve.

Caution - be prepared to travel in the desert! The nearest fuel station to the park is 24 miles away in Fenner. Carry water in your vehicle in case of an unexpected situation. Food is not available at the park, so plan ahead for meals.

Seasons/Climate/Recommended clothing

The best weather occurs in the Spring and Fall, but, because of the 4,300 foot elevation at the visitor center, temperatures usually remain moderate throughout the year. Temperatures inside the caverns are at a constant 65 degrees.

Facilities - Activities

The Mary Beale Nature Trail, located near the park's visitor center, is a self-guided moderate walk through the desert. A brochure describing desert plants and animals is available. Another, more strenuous, mile-long trail leads to a spring above the visitor center. There are also cross-country hikes to the many peaks in the Providence Mountain State Recreation Area.

Mitchell Caverns, located in the heart of the Providence Mountains State Recreation Area, is a popular tourist attraction. Spectacular and intricate limestone formations found include stalagmites, stalactites, helictites, lily pads, draperies, curtains and popcorn. First opened for tours by Jack Mitchell in 1932, the caverns were purchased by the State in 1954. They are the only limestone caverns in the State Park System.

Located at an elevation of 4,300 ft, temperatures usually remain moderate throughout the year. The most popular months to visit are October through May. Temperatures inside the caverns are a constant, comfortable 65 degrees.

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