History of the Desert Studies Center

Indigenous land

Mojave trade path Trade routes through the Mojave Metate and mesquite beans

The Desert Studies Center lies amidst Soda Springs within Chemehuevi territory. Its abundant springs in one of the driest places in North America have attracted people for thousands of years. Most recently, the Mojave, Southern Piute, and Chemehuevi peoples used Soda Springs seasonally for hunting and gathering plants for food and fiber. Soda Springs was a stop on an important trade route between North American tribes, where people carried goods back and forth between the Southwest deserts and the California coast. Soda Springs is along the main path from the Colorado River valley to the Transverse Ranges and the coastal plains.