Added to the State Parks in 1988, Ripley Desert Woodland is located a few miles west of the Poppy Reserve on Lancaster Road at 210th Street West. Donated to the State by Arthur "Archie" Ripley, the park protects and preserves an impressive stand of native Joshuas and junipers which once grew in great abundance throughout the valley. Today, only remnant parcels of this majestic woodland community remain in the valley, the rest having been cleared for farming and housing. The Joshua tree played an important part in cultural history of Antelope Valley, providing a vital source of food and fiber materials for the Native Americans that inhabited the region. The naming of Joshua as a "tree" is credited to early Mormon settlers who saw the tree with its upraised arms as Joshua leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. Its actual classification, however, is as a member of the lily family. In early spring months, creamy white blossoms begin to grow on the ends of the branches of the Joshua. The blooms last for several months, growing larger and larger as the weeks go by. Set in a bed of wildflowers, the Joshua becomes a site of stately beauty. We invite you to walk through this majestic Joshua/juniper woodland, to enjoy its beauty and to share with others the importance of preserving this valuable resource. For your enjoyment, the park features a picnic table and self-guided nature trail, with information about the desert wildflowers and animals of the Ripley Desert Woodlands. The trail is short with no elevation change. There is a pit toilet available; no running water. Open sunrise to sunset.
Basically forgotten about little location. The gates are never open, but you can easily park on the side of the road and walk inside. The trails are poorly maintained and narrow so it is VERY easy to stray from the intended trail and find yourself turned around for awhile. Nonetheless, the entire property is surrounded by a fence and you will eventually locate the trails again if you keep walking. Also, the area is extremely clean with very negligible amounts of litter. The ground is flat so it is extremely easy for beginners. There are picnic tables at the entrance as well as trash bins and a porta potty which is fairly well maintained.
I walk these trails every year around the Spring and Fall. It is my first hiking location so I am rather fond of it. It is a nice place to go out and simply become lost in the desert as you are unable to hear nearby traffic and it is far away from the city. You can make the hike as long or as short as you want.
I wouldn't advise arriving during snake season because the trails are too narrow in places to avoid a rattler. However, I will admit in all of the years I have been coming here I have never encountered a snake.
Lots of desert plants, small critters, and a probable chance of spotting a coyote. I bring my dogs and never run into a single soul. Personally I give it 5 stars but when compared to other places there isn't a lot to see to be honest.