Explore Joshua Tree - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Great, easy hike. If you’re limited on time and want to get a sampling of the best of Joshua Tree, this is the hike you’ll want to do. Lots of boulder piles, cacti, Joshua trees, wildlife and more. Super scenic, and if want a bit of adventure you can climb and scramble over the boulders. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow. Excellent for newbie hikers or families with kids. You’ll also see many rock climbers and boulderers in the area.

Yes, the road to the parking lot is still washed out, but we really enjoyed this trail, beginning from the Cottonwood Campground and starting with the upper half of the Mastodon Loop trail. Our hike was 10 miles, 4.5 hours with a lunch break at the bottom of the oasis (you have to go down into the oasis if you can do it). The was some water in the oasis, maybe due to a bit of rain last week. The weather has been cool so we only saw a few lizards on our way back but also saw a fox and a jack rabbit closer to the campground area.

We did this hike leaving into the Lost Palm Oasis trail because the road to lost palm trail head is washed out. I'm glad we did this anyway, the trail is great. However, it does add about 2 miles to the Lost Palm Oasis out and back hike for a total of 10 miles.

Anyone - please provide road conditions to the Ladder Canyon Trail? Want to hike there this Saturday; however, have a low riding Chrysler 300C and don't want to get stuck. Thanks much

hiking
5 days ago

This was definitely moderate. The first half is all uphill and a tough cardiovascular workout. I'm 61 and I used hiking poles. I highly recommend them. It is only a mile and a half up so that is good. The top offers a fantastic view. Coming down is tougher on the joints for those of us over a certain age, but not bad if you're careful.
Younger folks will get through this easily.

Camped here over the weekend. Some Ladders were broken and were missing rungs. Today as we were packing up and leaving we saw another group bringing in brand new ladders to replace the broken ones. I want to say Thank You to that group for making sure others enjoy this spot. #NotAllHeroesWearCapes

I give this a 5 even though it was rather difficult to navigate this past weekend. We ended up getting a bit lost because the areas that were flooded ended up looking like they could be part of the trail. However, such is nature and we still got to experience the beautiful landscape. We started from the Cottonwood Springs campground so we used that as our landmark as we navigated back.

Not closed. Great trail. We went left to head towards the ropes. It’s very narrow in spots and not good for someone who is claustrophobic. But worth it if you like an adventure. We hiked the ridge and looped around to the ladders. We did 6 miles.

Very easy “walk in the park” type of trail that was absolutely breath taking! A must see while in Joshua Tree!

Everything is good to go. The last 1.8 ish miles in is a little soft but it’s beautiful

Perfect place to boulder hooping!!!
Very clean nice campground!!

Ladder Canyon is open, as is Painted Canyon, it is possible to do the full loop. There is one ladder missing in Ladder Canyon but there is a rope there. I was just through there a couple of days ago. Painted Canyon Rd is also open but it is very soft towards the end, 2WD cars were parked alongside the road. 4x4 were OK.

The problem with the road isn't deep ruts but very loose sand.

Box Canyon Road is officially closed just past the Painted Canyon Rd, however as was said below you can go through with a 4x4, or dual sport motorcycle. The "road" has soft, loose sand in many places. It is often easier to just drive on the hard packed wash.

Heading back today to check it out. Box canyon is apparently closed but painted canyon remains open. We love this place to much not to try and make it in. I’m bringing a shovel to try and flatten out any deep ruts from the rain.

I’ll keep this updated today.

Easy hike to get started.

Good for the history bluffs, great for the nature buffs, and was way cool for the earthquake bluffs. When you are all three, it's awesome. wish I'd started earlier and planned more to explore, and maybe take a volunteer guided hike.

About 10 am on November 7th. 80°F, much cooler under the shade of the trees.

Any updates on the road and trail conditions of the Ladders? Is it still washed out?

13 days ago

The Box Canyon Road is closed just past the Painted Canyon Rd but the Painted Canyon Rd is open. However it is very loose and sandy as you get closer to the Painted Canyon Trailhead. 4 wheel drive vehicles can make it to the TH but most 2 wheel drive cars were parked alongside the Painted Canyon Rd before entering into the narrow part of the canyon.

What map shows as the trail isn't possible now without climbing equipment. At the point where this trail leaves the main canyon and goes to the right up a side canyon, the first long ladder is missing. I don't know about anything above this point.

We drove down box canyon road even though it was closed.

The road IS completely washed away and we do not recommend taking this way if you do not have 4x4/AWD and some experience driving in loose sand.

Last mile or so on painted canyon road should not be tried unless you have 4x4, you could get stuck VERY easily.

We didn’t finish the entire hike, just 4 miles out and back, but there were no ladders, just a rope that is creatively added using tie downs.

We absolutely loved this hike, very remote and highly recommend it. The painted canyon is absolutely gorgeous

Crowded hike with expansive views. Really nicely constructed steps! Easy to navigate and a cool variety of terrain and sights.

Rewarding and easy one mile hike with lots of different plants. Good signage, though the busy nature of it means that people are all over the place.

Many rocks to climb on and beautiful views from the top of them!

I agree with the 4x4 recommendations if you want to drive all the way to the trailhead. We took a 2wd rental car to within 1 mile of trailhead and parked it and then walked the rest of the way in. Any farther would have resulted in a stuck car as the road became quite soft. Even getting to that point requires a LOT of attentiveness while driving as there are soft spots you do NOT wanna be driving slow thru. The hike itself was outstanding and memorable. A bucket list item for anyone who has never done a slot canyon!!! The ladders are not in great shape. Kinda sketchy but very doable for anyone in relatively decent shape.

hiking
15 days ago

This hike is full of steps 1.5 miles up! Once you get to the top there’s an elevation sign perfect for a photo opp. It gives you a good workout, but is not too strenuous. Highly recommended!

hiking
19 days ago

Great place to bring the family for a hike. The view at the top is amazing.

Enjoyable. Crowded on front end because of entertainment value to young children but as the trails get further along its much more peaceful. The surroundings are beautiful with mountain ranges in all directions. Low elevation makes it more of a long stroll with little huffing and puffing.

An easy going trail in the rocks

hiking
21 days ago

I did it yesterday.. A bit harder on the way up, I was a bit worry for my knees on the return, but incredibly easy since I took my time. Was easier to go down than up.. Using walking poles helped me a lot..

my brothers Chevy Tahoe got stuck in the loose gravel about 100yds from trail entrance so 4x4 or awd is recommended. beautiful canyons. At the top of the trail the ladder is damaged but we still got thru with pieces of wood from the original ladder. I would hike this again! I wish a local would bring up new ladders.

We hiked to the mine and returned. It’s a rocky not well marked trail but a fun hike.

Amazing expansive valley hidden behind the rocks. Knowing that it was created by destroying the rocks and making the passage makes it accessible for trail hikers and also explains how it was hidden for so long. Again. Good opportunity for rock climbers on the way

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