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First, let me disagree with the previous poster that thought the trail was not "Moderate", but was instead "Easy". Any trail that climbs upward for about 40 minutes and over 700 feet is not "Easy".

The trail started out (from the Ranger Station) mostly flat for about a half mile, then after we reached the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and headed south, it climbed up about 700 feet via a series of switchbacks. It took about 40 minutes to reach the top of a ridge line where the trail left the PCT and followed the ridge line for about a mile. Then we started back down to the bottom of Whitewater Canyon and looped back to where we started. The trail up was smooth and level – well-maintained. However, the trail down was a rough and rocky V-shaped trail created by runoff water. It didn’t look like they had spent much time maintaining this part of the trail, and it was slow going.

It provided great views and I would do it again; however, I would like to see some effort made to improve the trail leading down to the entrance road.

Amazing hike and picturesque as well. The trail are
Rough with many tripping hazards and one should watch your step, specially when descending. done it twice and were very fulfilling.

Amazing payoff at the end but it is a difficult climb. I was winded many times and was happy to take breaks to let others pass. This is my first West Coast mountain and it made me feel like a rookie. We did pack water which even re-energized my husband who is an avid hiker. The top has an amazing view and so worth the hard work. We even had lunch at the top. Great views!!!!

Hiked up Ski Hut / Baldy bowl and down Devil's Backbone loop Sunday March 18th.

Left at 7:15AM, arrived at Ski hut at 9am, and summited around 11am. We contemplated descending the ski hut trail, or completing the loop down Devil's Backbone. After talking with several people on the summit who hiked up the backbone, we decided on the backbone. We were lucky to have great weather and a solid path in front of us the entire day. We got the job done in our micro spikes but obviously preferred with crampons. There were certainly a couple sections where you want to be extremely cautious along the backbone, and most likely avoid after a storm or it's too cold / icy.

We stopped by the lodge for celebratory beers and ended back at the starting point around 2:30pm.

Overall this climb was far more impressive than I was expecting. The entire hike was beautiful. It's awesome to have this mountain only an hour from the beach.

I'd definitely recommend going with someone who is familiar with the route or experienced in the mountains if you decide to do the bowl or backbone on the ascent/descent in the winter. Shoot for a day with a great weather window as it will eliminate alot of the risk variables.

The sun didn't hit the mountain hard until noon, which then we observed several rock and ice fall as the mountain came alive. Try to be on your descent in the early afternoon.

Awesome hike. 5 Stars!

A short and easy hike through some interesting rock formations and vegetation. The informational signs in the area are pretty neat. There’s fun to be had scrambling around the rocks.

The trail isn’t really labeled until you get up close, but it’s in the White Tank campground.

Definitely more “touristy” due to the short length and ease of the hike, but still fun to see. Would recommend doing this either earlier or later in the day to beat or follow the crowds as there is sometimes some congestion around Arch Rock.

A fun little loop amongst the rocks and various vegetation of Joshua Tree. The trail is pretty short and easy, and has a lot of opportunities for exploration amongst the rocks. The history of the valley is pretty cool so take the time to read the informational signs.

Definitely more “touristy” due to the short length and ease of the hike, but still fun to see.

3 days ago

I did this trail on a cool winter day and it was delightful. I would not attempt it on a hot and sunny day, as it offers little shade (like all hikes in JT). The scenery and views are incredible. There are more trees and wildlife here than in other parts of the park.

3 days ago

short trail but hike around the arch for more views

Nice easy trail. Spectacular view at the top.

I'm a desert native who was introducing my girlfriend to the park and environment of JT. We hiked Ryan Mountain for the view at the end. It is strenuous for those who aren't used to elevation and the sun. My girlfriend had to take frequent breaks because of the heat and rapid elevation gain. There are absolutely no breaks from the heat unless you have the wind blowing in your favor. I'm used to these kind of trails (grew up in the coachella valley) and even had to stop for the occasional water break. I wouldn't recommend the trail for those with a fear of heights. Some parts are well paved, but narrow. It is frequently visted during winter months. However the view on the way up is great, and if you're lucky, you can see some rock climbers in the distance.

Even though visibility was maybe 100ft at the top, this was still a fun and challenging hike. It took my brother and I 2.5 hours to get up to the top. Hiking poles or microspikes would be recommended this time of year even though it was fairly warm in the beginning (I only had a t-shirt on until Wellman Divide). There was a sprinkling of rain from Wellman Divide to the top which then turned to snow.

Fun little loop with lots of rocks to scramble onto and over if you please! Would be a great place to take kids

Excellent hike today

On March 10, hiked up Ski Hut / Baldy Bowl and down Devil’s Backbone to the Notch, about 7.5 miles total. Took the chairlift down the rest of the way. The hike itself took 4 hours and 3min, but I set a very aggressive pace for myself due to time constraints. The first three miles up to just beyond the ski hut took 1h20min, the next 1.5 miles up to the summit took 1h20min (this segment abolutely kicked my butt) and the summit down to the Notch took 1h25min. I set out from Manker Flats at 5:22am (with a headlamp as it was not yet twilight) and got to the Notch at 9:26am. The trail was mostly clear of snow and ice for the first three miles. Microspikes were necessary for most of the upper section to the summit due to ice and snow particularly in the steep section beginning about 1/2 mile after the hut. I had downloaded a route into my Garmin watch, which was very helpful (read: necessary) because there are sections between the hut and the summit where it would be very easy to lose the trail. Hiking down Devil’s Backbone was a little scary in parts due to ice and snow along the precipitous drop-offs, however there was enough ground exposed so that I could easily identify and avoid the snow cornices. It is a little hairy right at the western entrance to the Backbone section as there is a lot of snow wedged in the corner next to a fairly steep dropoff. Overall it is a very fun and pretty challenging hike, with amazing views and spectacular scenery along the whole route. Well worth it, but this time of year use caution and tread carefully along precipitous sections of the Devil’s Backbone trail; and be prepared - I would recommend microspikes and trekking poles for the hairy parts, and also bring some layers because there can be very significant changes in temperature at the different elevations and much wind chill at the summit.

Easy fun loop trail. Fun sights to see and very accessible.

Great time. Snow on the ground made it that much more enjoyable. Did the whole loop and Needed crampons for sure to help with the sliding around.

Short hike but cool photo opportunity with the arch. If you feel adventurous there are rocks to scramble around. It’s a good hike to end the day.

I personally would not consider this a 'moderate' trail...it was relatively easy (my 2 year old daughter did this trail without any issues, along with her 5 older brothers - ranging from 12 down to 4. A friend of mine also brought her daughter who was 3 and had no issues). This was beautiful. Fun! Lots to do, especially for the kids. The switch backs were entertaining...nothing huge but the mere fact at how short they were was pretty funny especially since my wife had never done a series of switch backs yet.

Overall - super cool trail. Saw a few animals, mainly wild cow.

This trail was easy, no real elevation gains and was one of the more scenic areas. You are surrounding by rocks on all side once you enter. We were hear at dusk so the light made the experience all the better.

This hike was difficult for me, we had already hiked around 11 miles for the day and started around 430 pm. We made the top by about 6 and the views were great especially at dusk. By the time we got to the bottom it was full dark. The wind was being at the top as well so dress appropriately.

Short easy hike with some opportunity for some cool easy rock climbing.

Very pretty...but the stairway all the way up 1.5 miles got old. I like variety. Stairway to heaven

Short and sweet hike to a nice arch Rock! be early since parking is very limited

24 days ago

Left the car at 10 am, made it back by noon. We took our time hiking up the steep incline—definitely harder than we expected, but the trail was safe. The views at the top were breathtaking!!

24 days ago

Great views, beautiful summit. Heavy traffic in February.

Lots of steps, but lovely views. Worth the effort!

Beautiful but overrrun. This trail offers Joshua Tree NP in a box...with nice rock formations, joshua trees and other desert fauna, and some history.

easy but dank

Lots of scrambling on rocks. Hard to find but keep looking and you’ll get there. This is also a camp site. Beautiful rock formations. Pictures don’t do it justice. Easy to get caught up and get lost.... but easy also easy to find your way back

27 days ago

Great little trail with some neat rock formations. Signs throughout with desert plant info.

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