I've got a week in the Mojave Desert ahead of me, and no fixed itinerary... I'll start in Mojave National Preserve around Van Winkle Mountain and end up in the Owlshead Mountains in Death Valley National Park.

Day 1: Van Winkle Mountain and Willow Springs Basin tour

Day 1: Van Winkle Mountain and Willow Springs Basin tour

61 photos

I'll start this trip with an overnighter near Van Winkle Spring in Mojave Preserve, and then decide where to go from there. That sounds like a plan!

Day 2: Hyten Spring day hike, Bristol Mountains, Kelso Dunes Wilderness

Day 2: Hyten Spring day hike, Bristol Mountains, Kelso Dunes Wilderness

74 photos

I hiked to Hyten Spring once back in 2011 and today I want to see a canyon or two in that area that I didn't explore then. 16.5 hiking miles with about 2000 feet of elevation gain.

Day 3: Let's drive across the Devil's Playground 4WD road, Mojave National Preserve

Day 3: Let's drive across the Devil's Playground 4WD road, Mojave National Preserve

70 photos

I've previously bicycled the powerline road on both sides of Devil's Playground, so today I'll connect those two routes by driving over 25 miles of dirt road across it, from Bristol Mountains up through Jackass Canyon.

Day 4: Cinder Cones hike, Black Tank Wash, Mojave National Preserve

Day 4: Cinder Cones hike, Black Tank Wash, Mojave National Preserve

95 photos

It should be fun to hike up one of Mojave Preserve's famous cinder cones after years of riding and driving past them with admiration. 12.6 hiking miles with about 1800 feet of elevation gain.

Day 5: Kingston Wash Route 4WD afternoon in the FJ Cruiser

Day 5: Kingston Wash Route 4WD afternoon in the FJ Cruiser

61 photos

I've been tempted to try riding the Kingston Wash Route by bicycle several times over the years; today I'll finally check it out from the FJ (a much easier way to do it, and without worries about running out of water).

Day 6: Exploring Owlshead Mountains and canyons a bit more

Day 6: Exploring Owlshead Mountains and canyons a bit more

77 photos

After hiking in the Owlshead Mountains area last autumn, I knew I would return for more. Today I'll see no other humans and hike 21.3 miles, my longest, with a gradual 2100 feet of elevation gain.

Day 7: Head Peak hike, Quail Mountains, next to Owlshead Mountains

Day 7: Head Peak hike, Quail Mountains, next to Owlshead Mountains

61 photos

9.6 miles round-trip with about 1500 feet of elevation gain, easy after yesterday's 21-mile hike. Head Peak is just outside Death Valley National Park, though much of this hike is in The Park.

Day 8: Kelso Dunes moist car camping

Day 8: Kelso Dunes moist car camping

36 photos

I end this trip with a drive to Kelso Dunes in Mojave Preserve, but decide not to do an evening dunes hike due to rain showers.