Joshua Tree National Park

Hiking Nature Trails

Mileage is for specific trails only, which often is measured from one trail intersection to another. Trails are listed as strenuous (S) moderately strenuous (MS), moderate (M), and easy (E).

High View - 1.3 mile loop (M)
Starting point - Black Rock Canyon Campground. This is a well maintained, moderately steep trail leading to a good viewpoint of Yucca Valley and Mt. San Gorgonio. A handout may be available at the Black Rock Nature Center that provides information on the high desert environment.

Hidden Valley - 1 mile loop (E)
Starting point - Hidden Valley picnic area. This is a well maintained easy trail takes you into a rock-enclosed valley rumored to have been used by cattle rustlers in the late 1800's.

Barker Dam - 1.1 mile loop (E)
Starting point - Barker Dam parking area. This is a well maintained easy trail to a dam and lake built by early cattle ranchers. The trail leads past Native American petroglyphs.

Cap Rock - 0.4 mile loop (E)
Starting point - Cap Rock parking area. This is an easy, paved, wheelchair accessible trail that circles through boulder formations showing the geology and plants of the Mojave Desert. The area is named for the large rock perched like a cap on the largest rock formation.

Keys View Loop - 0.25 mile loop (E)
Starting point - Keys View road. This short paved trail ascends to a viewpoint of the Coachella Valley, Mt. San Jacinto, Mt. San Gorgonio, and the Salton Sea.

Skull Rock - 1.7 mile loop (E)
Starting point - Jumbo Rocks Campground near loop E. Interpretive signs guide visitors through boulder piles, desert washes, and a rock alleyway to the rock formation known as Skull Rock.

Indian Cove - 0.6 mile loop (E)
Starting point - west end of Indian Cove Campground. The trail skirts the edge of the boulders at the northern edge of the Wonderland of Rocks. Signs along the way interpret the plants and animals of the Mojave Desert and early human life in the area.

Oasis of Mara - 0.5 mile loop (E)
Starting point - Oasis Visitor Center. Once a popular gathering place for Native Americans, this paved, wheelchair accessible trail provides a good introduction to an oasis habitat.

Arch Rock - 0.3 mile loop (E)
Starting point - White Tank Campground, opposite site 9. Signs along this trail interpret the geology of the area and the formation of a natural arch.

Cholla Cactus Garden - 0.25 mile loop (E)
Starting point - Pinto Basin Road 20 miles north of Cottonwood. This trail meanders through a dense concentration of Bigelow Cholla in the lower edge of the transition zone between the Mojave and Colorado Deserts.

Cottonwood Spring - 1 mile loop (E)
Starting point - Cottonwood Spring parking area. Signs interpret the plants and animals of the Colorado Desert as it winds through rolling hills.

Botanical Walk - 0.2 mile loop (E)
Starting point - Cottonwood Visitor Center. This short trail loops through typical Colorado Desert vegetation, with signs identifying the plants.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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