Joshua Tree National Park
Hiking - Rock Climbing - Photography - Biking
A rich cultural history and surreal geologic features
add to the attraction of Joshua Tree National Park for day hikers or campers.
The park offers visitors endless opportunities for exploration and discovery,
providing wonderful hikes, rock climbs, views of rock formations and spectacular
desert plants like joshua trees, cholla cactus and barrel cactus, and old mining
sites, as well as vistas of the Sonoran and Mojave deserts. Depending on
the number of hours you have to spend, your interests and your energy, here are
some ideas to consider:
Hiking & Walking
Arch Rock: 0.3 mile loop (.5 km) trailhead begins at White Tank Campground opposite site #9.
Bajada Nature 1/4 mile - Short nature trails introduce visitors to the ecological variety of the Southern California desert.
Barker Dam Trail: Easy 1.1-mile (1 hour) loop past petroglyph. Starting point begins at the Barker dam parking area.
Cap Rock: 0.4 mile loop trailhead begins at Cap Rock parking area, at the junction of Park Blvd. and Keys View Roads.
Cholla Cactus Garden: 1/4-mile mile loop trailhead begins 20 miles north of Cottonwood Visitor Center.
Hidden Valley: 1 mile loop. Trailhead begins at Hidden Valley picnic area.
High View: 1.3-mile loop trailhead begins Northwest of Black Rock Campground.
Indian Cove: 0.6-mile loop trail begins at the west end of Indian Cove Campground.
Keys View: 1/4- mile loop trail begins at Keys View.
Oasis of Mara: 1/2-mile loop trail begins at the Oasis Visitor Center, Twentynine Palms.
Skull Rock: 1.7-mile loop trail begins at Jumbo Rocks Campground, just beyond loop E.
The Bajada Nature Trail is located at the park’s southern entrance.
Castle, a Joshua Tree mystery, sought by many but found and visited by
only a few.
Hiking To The Lost Horse Mine
Hiking Ryan Mountain
Hiking Juniper Flats
Additional Joshua Tree National Park Hiking & Backpacking Trails
Joshua Tree National Park is one of the most popular
rock climbing areas in the world. More than 5,000 established climbs offering
- Outdoor Recreation: Rock Climbing Guide to Joshua Tree National Park
- Sheer Fear: DesertUSA article about rock climbing in Joshua Tree NP
4-Wheel-Drive & Backcountry Roads
Mountain bikes and four-wheel drive vehicles are welcome in Joshua Tree National Park. For your own safety and for the protection of the natural features of the park please stay on established roads. Tire tracks on the open desert can last for years and will spoil the wilderness experience of future hikers.
Paved roads in the park are narrow without paved shoulders. Curves, boulder
piles, and Joshua Trees restrict the vision of the bikers and motorists. The
unpaved roads in the park are safer for bikes and offer many opportunities to
explore the area.
Black Eagle Mine Road: Beginning 6.5 miles north of Cottonwood Visitor Center, this dead-end dirt road runs along the edge of Pinto Basin, crosses several dry washes, and then winds up through canyons in the Eagle Mountains. The first 9 miles of the road are within the park boundary. Beyond that point is Bureau of Land Management land and a number of side roads. Several old mines are located near these roads but may be dangerous to approach. Video on trip.
Covington Flats: The dirt roads in Covington Flats offer access to some of the park's largest Joshua Trees, as well as to Junipers, pinyon pines, and some of the lushest vegetation in the high desert. A nice trip is from the Covington Flats picnic area to Eureka Peak, 3.8 miles one way. The dirt road is steep near the end, but the top offers views of Palm Springs, the surrounding mountains and the Morongo Basin. Your trip will be 6.5 miles longer if you ride the drive over to the backcountry board, a starting point for excellent hiking.
Geology Tour Road: The road turns south from the paved
road 2 miles west of Jumbo Rocks Campground. The distance from the junction to
Squaw Tank is 5.4 miles. This section is mostly downhill but bumpy and sandy.
Starting at Squaw Tank, a 6-mile circular route can be taken that explores Pleasant
Valley. Click here for a descriptive brochure in a PDF format. Mileage starts at
the intersection of Geology Tour Road and the main
park road. The 16 stops along the 18-mile tour will
require approximately two hours and will return you
to this point. Video on trip
Old Dale Road: This 23-mile road starts at the same point as the Black Eagle Mine Road. For the first 11 miles the road runs across the Pinto Basin, a flat, sandy dry lake bed. Shortly after leaving the basin, the road climbs up a steep hill, then crosses the park boundary. Near that point a number of side roads veer off toward old mines and private residences. If you stay on the main road you will come out on Highway 62, 15 miles east of Twentynine Palms. Video on trip.
Queen Valley: A network of roads, totaling 13.4 miles, cross this valley of boulder piles and Joshua Trees. A bike trip can begin at Hidden Valley Campground or at the dirt road opposite the Geology Tour Road. Several bike racks have been placed in this area so visitors can lock their bikes and go hiking.
Joshua Tree National Park
74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
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