Explore MOC Trail - 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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Nice hike, pretty easy/wide trail much of the way. Suggest taking the side Five Oaks trail for the best views and less people (even though a bit harder and narrower).

Fun trail and hike with good views. It's a pretty easy hike if you do any real hiking.

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

hiking
1 day ago

Beautiful view! People of all ages can do this one. It's the perfect hike as part of a day trip. Swing by Julian after for apple pie and cider.

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.

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

9/10/18
I enjoyed this hike very much! Easy, fun switchbacks, well maintained trail, however lots of hikers on the weekend. Astonishing views at the top of the summit! The space at the top is very small and can get crowded quickly. My guy and I did a quick walk thru than found a quiet spot on a rock away from the crowd to enjoy our view and snack. Please be mindful to share the space at the top of the summit for others to also enjoy the beautiful view. No need for you to hang out there 20min to talk about BS as others are coming thru. And please keep your dog on a leash. Parking $10 Paso Picacho Picnic abs Campground.

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

Stunning views on a beautiful fall day. Main trail is very family and dog friendly. A little blustery at the top but didn’t take away from it all.

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.

Easy dog and kid-friendly trail with beautiful foliage in the fall. This loop intersects with many other trails in the area and it is easy to veer off course. Be sure to use AllTrails or other GPS to navigate. There is a designated parking lot with restrooms at the trailhead off of Sunset Hwy on Wooded Hill Rd. Need to have an Adventure Pass ($5 day pass, $30 annual pass) to park in the parking lot.

i love the trail, it is a little bit hard but the view is amazing

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.

Great hike! Then head into Julian for lunch

I hiked on this trail 2 years ago and it was great, however we went today and what once was a road that everyone could travel, only 4x4’s could get thru. We almost got stuck and had to park 2 miles up the road. We helped dig out two other cars that got stuck. We also couldn’t do the loop due to ladders missing and the others were broke. This trail was so great before but I don’t recommend wasting time to go out there.

hiking
16 days ago

Really nice trail, especially the five oaks trail section. A lot people and unfortunately dog poop.

Went the back way and got lost twice. Keep the map open if you do this. We went through painted canyon and saved the ladders for last. But yes, ladders were missing. Also, four wheeler is mandatory to get to the hike. We almost got stuck in the sand. We parked two miles from the parking lot but thankful the hiking community is so nice that we got to hitchhike to the trail and back from two different parties. Other than that it was a great experience and a must do.

it is now washed out. the ladders are not in place and boulders displaced and washed down. will need a lot of work. the October storm did great damage.

Hidden gem in the backroads of BLM land. This trail is full of caverns, ladder bridges and at the same time, wide open spaces, washes and amazing views. One of my favorite hikes in or out of Joshua tree.

it was a pleasant view! totally recommend it!

Did this one today. Road says closed because of recent rains but it didn’t seem to stop anyone. You will need AWD to make it back though all the sand to get to the parking. Lots of ladders, bouldering, and scrambles, beautiful views from the top. SLOT CANYON, so much fun, and beautiful.

hiking
22 days ago

The trail is wide and well maintained, would be a good one to bring the pups. Nice views at the top of the summit

Just don't take the first canyon trail unless young and in-shape. I mistakenly did. Wild and exciting but demands rope-climbing capacity and more. Rope pretty narrow so gloves required. Should have partner in case of trouble.

We've got a trip planned for Thanksgiving Weekend. I'd appreciate any updated road info for Painted Canyon Road.

So the first thing we encountered was a large road closed sign. People were turning around BUT DRIVE AROUND it. The road leading to the trail head is sandy but if you have a 4 wheel drive SUV you can make it. A two wheel drive car - you will make it most of the way then have to walk about 15-30 min depending how far you get.

Once you make the trail, stay to the right for the ladders and left for the ropes (it’s not marked).

Depending how you get down, you might have to descend a rope which is challenging. My wife who is in pretty good shape had a freak out. But overall it’s not too bad.

I have done this hike multiple times and highly recommend.

@BRUPac ;) I understand the road in is washed out from both ends, but which end did you start from with your 4x4? I have a tacoma 4x4 and wanted to attempt to reach the trailhead this weekend.

Beautiful hike with a moderate amount of steep sections

great hikers and viewers.

went there yesterday 11/3/18. Left a review on the ladder canyon road review section. highly recommend 4x4, but will be honest, a Volvo awd SUV made it all of the way and a 2018 Toyota Camry made it over half way, before the real soft sand. I'm adding a few pictures of the road to judge for your self. go in groups or have recovery gear to get yourself out.

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