off road driving
The United States Congress designated the Joshua Tree Wilderness in 1976 and it now has a total of 594,502 acres. All of this wilderness is located in California and is managed by the National Park Service. The Joshua Tree Wilderness is bordered by the Sheephole Valley Wilderness to the north and the Pinto Mountains Wilderness to the north. The California Desert Protection Act of 1994 transformed Joshua Tree National Monument into a national park and expanded the old designated Wilderness by 133,382 acres. The additions thrust north into the Pinto Mountains, northeast into the Coxcomb Mountains, southeast into the Eagle Mountains, and southwest into the Little San Bernardino Mountains. Most of the park away from road corridors is wilderness, a fabulous meeting place of two desert ecosystems. The lower, drier Colorado Desert dominates the eastern half of the park, home to abundant creosote bushes, the spidery ocotillo, and the "jumping" cholla cactus. The slightly more cool and moist Mojave Desert covers the western half of the park, serving as a hospitable breeding ground for the undisciplined Joshua tree. You'll find examples of a third ecosystem within the park: five fan-palm oases, where surface or near-surface water gives life to the stately palms. By day, you might spy bighorn sheep on mountainous slopes, numerous lizards lazing in the heat, and eagles soaring in bright sunlight. Still, it's nighttime that truly brings the desert to life, with tarantulas, rattlesnakes, coyotes, jackrabbits, bobcats, kangaroo rats, and burrowing owls responding to the lure of the dry, cool air. You'll witness some of the most fascinating geologic displays to be found in any of Southern California's desertland: twisted rock formations and granite monoliths painted with faded colors into a giant and beautiful mosaic. These rocks are an immense attraction to rock climbers. You won't find a lot of trails, but you will find travel relatively easy in multitudes of arroyos and playas, bajadas, and narrow ravines that require scrambling over skin-scraping boulders. Carry water. Joshua Tree National Park is made up of 75 percent wilderness and lies 140 miles east of Los Angeles, 175 miles northeast of San Diego, and 215 miles southwest of Las Vegas. You can approach it from Interstate 10 and Hwy 62 (Twentynine Palms Highway). The closest airport is in Palm Springs. Public transportation to the park is not available. There are three park entrance stations: 1) The west entrance is located five miles south of the junction of Highway 62 and Park Boulevard at Joshua Tree Village. 2) The north entrance is in Twentynine Palms, three miles south of the junction of Highway 62 and Utah Trail. 3) The south entrance at Cottonwood Spring, which lies 25 miles east of Indio, can be approached from the east or west, also via Interstate 10.
I took this trail today the day after a big all day rainstorm that set records in California. The fun thing about this hike was you were actually hiking through a creek for a little less than a half-mile. You get your feet wet no matter what! Nothing scary, I just wish I thought of going barefoot before socks got wet. Beautiful day. If you go all the way through there is a hidden waterfall with a sketchy approach - so I only heard it. You walk through a beautiful valley.
Fantastic view, the trail system and terrain is different from other hikes in the park making it enjoyable. Yes there is also a well maintained dirt road to the top as well, easily traffic-able by any style vehicle. Hiking it is more enjoyable and rewarding!
This was a nice little trail that went into a valley with a mini unique ecosystem. We went in December during a period of unprecedented visitation, so as expected, this trail was busy. In fact, this trail is heralded as the most popular in the park.
The trail has its own parking lot and vault toilet.
It requires some light climbing up and down rock stairs throughout, but nothing too extreme. No hiking poles are needed.
The trail recommends you proceed clockwise on the loop to better pair with the informational placards.
I don't think December is the optimal time for this trail as many of the plants were dormant or not in blood, but it was still beautiful as it wove thru unique rock formations along the way.
I really enjoyed this trail - more than I thought I would. We went in December, during a period of unprecedented visitation, and this hike was expectedly crowded.
The hike wove thru rock formations along the side of a mountain. The formations were so perfect and otherworldly that they appeared fake! It seemed like the radiator springs exhibit in California Adventure, but it was real!
The dam is on the backside of the mountain and it too is stunningly beautiful when the mountains reflect in the still water.
The hike did require some light navigation up and down rocks, but nothing too strenuous. We didn't need hiking poles.
After the dam, the hike turned into more of a nature trail and finished with a native petroglyph site. The site (I am told) was edited for a movie, but it was still cool.
Overall this hike was unexpectedly beautiful, and it became one of my favorites.
This was a great trail to get up close and personal with history. We went in December, during a period of unprecedented levels of visitation, so this trail was packed.
The trailhead is shared with the Barker Dam trail. There is a parking lot and vault toilet. The beginning is somewhat poorly marked, but we found our way without too many detours. In fact this trail will take you past the wonderland of rocks so additional detours might be preferable!
The trail is easy. You pass the Bagley stone, which I was upset to see has been taken down temporarily due to vandalism. You pass several old cars, building material, and a windmill, all with quite a patina, before even reaching the mill. I was also sad to see a family whose dad (I assume) was letting the college-aged kids climb all over the windmill. The mill itself was cordoned off, but the rest unfortunately was not.
The trail also winds thru Joshua trees galore and beautiful vegetation. Oh also be sure to check out the bullet holes on the car furthest back!
All in all, this was a great trail, which I personally would've enjoyed more with less people.
This was a great hike to the largest concentration of California fan palm trees in the park. We went in December, during a period of unprecedented levels of visitation, but this hike was not crowded. The beginning of the trail is shared with another hike, so that period had more people, but overall this is a great one for seclusion and to immerse yourself in desert scenery.
There is a vault toilet at the start, but this trail is close to both Cottonwood campground as well as the south ranger station. There is drinking water there to stock up, if needed. As others have mentioned, there is little shade on this trail, so water is vital.
The trail is relatively well marked, although the sand made it a little difficult at times. There is also some steep rock navigation that'll be required near the oasis itself especially as you descend into the canyon. We had brought hiking poles and were very glad we did.
At the oasis there is shade, plenty of resting spots, standing water, and a large bird population. We weren't fortunate enough to see many other animals, but other people were.
We timed this hike to have sunset on the way back for pictures. It was gorgeous. Those who do this definitely need warm clothing and lights as the temperature drops quickly when the sun sets.
This is a lovely short hike thru the largest concentration of Cholla Cacti (aka Teddy Bear Cacti) in the park. We went in December, during a period of unprecedented levels of visitation, so the hike was crowded.
The hike was short and well marked. Part of it even had a board walk.
Hikers with bee allergies should be careful with this trail. Bee populations with be extremely high when the cacti are blooming.
Overall I really liked this hike. It was very easy, but the beautiful Cacti with a mountain backdrop made for some great pictures.
This is a shorter hike thru beautiful rock formations and desert. We did this trail in December, during a period where the park was having unprecedented levels of visitation, so it was packed.
The trail begins at a campground and vault toilets are available. Hikers with bee allergies should be careful depending on the time of year and water conditions. Apparently bees have been known to swarm in search of water.
The hike itself is nice and informative, but not marked the best. However it's so short that it's difficult to get lost. The various detours are cool thou. We encountered a rock that looked like the one from Indiana Jones.
I might suggest bringing gloves for those intending to climb Arch Rock, but otherwise it was not difficult at all.
Overall a decent stop.