Four-Wheel Drive Backcountry Roads
Joshua Tree National Park
Backcountry Roads for Offroad Vehicles 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 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.
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.
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. A printed guide is available at the beginning of the road.
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.
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.
Source: Joshua Tree National Park
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