Explore So Cal Desert - 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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5/5 stars, great views of the park, some cool boulders and the oasis at the end was cherry on top! Definitely worth the trek. We had to start from the campgrounds and do the loop behind the Cottonwood Springs campground due to the road being washed out. Added an extra 2 or 2.5 miles, making the hike about 4 hours total.

Fantastic ✨

Did this hike two days ago. Cottonwood Trail, the main trail to Lost Palms, and the road to it, are closed due to being washed out from floods. If you want to hike to Lost Palms you can park at Campground A-B and take the trail toward Mastodon Peak. Once you pass the gold mine and Mastodon Peak go down the hill to Lost Palms Oasis Trail and take a left. Then it’s the Trail as normal to List Palms. This way adds about 1.5-2 miles to the normal hike. Great views as always.

Beautiful trail! We went from Mission Creek entrance to Whitewater Preserve, really nice 8 mile hike with water about 6 miles in to give your feet a refresh. That trail is not marked on all trails, go to the Whitewater preserve and grab a map for more info. Any hiking in either of these preserves is incredible. Highly recommend!

Closed due to fire hazard

Well kept trail. Good views of rugged desert terrain. Oasis is cool break. Palms are great.

on Careys Castle Trail

8 days ago

This trail is still closed. Security pulled up immediately and told us it was a private road and there is no access to trail.

hiking
14 days ago

This is a scenic and relatively easy desert hike. We didn't see any rams but it was still worth it. To avoid the heat, I began at around 4:30pm and got back at around 6:30 (fall time). It got dark fast so bring a headlamp or flashlight if you go in the late afternoon / early evening. And of course, bring at least 2 litters of water per person (the park recommends 1 gallon per person, but I don't think that's necessary unless you're going during the day on a hot day, which I wouldn't recommend anyway.

No water right now but super nice hike.

hiking
22 days ago

This was a great trial however at the time we hiked it there wasn’t much water. The alternate route on the way back is more up hill than the main route. But we did it because I like to do ‘ loop’ trails (it looks better on Strava.lol). Also there is a $10 fee when you enter this part of the park.

We went clockwise on the trail because we could. Yes, it’s a little hard on the switch backs but it’s builds endurance. Great view on top
You start around 4000ft . 1150ft elevation gain to of approximately 5150 ft .

Great views over the ridge. Loved hiking the wash. Awesome Joshua tree forest just above the park.

The trail is easy to following and just beautiful... that said, this is a HOT hike. I am a well-acclimated desert dweller and heat is not a problem for me, also I am an avid hiker. This was just over 3 miles of what I would consider an easy walk, but even I got a little over heated in this sunny canyon. I am only saying this so that people may take the warning and carry enough water... the park suggests no less than 1 gallon per person and I would certainly agree with that. With the proper supplies, this is a lovely walk with some very interesting geology! Saw a huge herd of Big Horn. Loved it.

hiking
1 month ago

We enjoyed the trail and it was relatively easy to follow. For the most part the ground is soft, which makes the walking slower (took us 3-1/2 hrs all in all, with stops to admire the view and have snacks) and the footing less secure on the way down after the peak (we took the anti-clockwise path). The change in vegetation is very noticeable, and on the way up there were nice shady spots. View at the top is wonderful, looking down onto Palm Springs and then the Yucca Valley.

The trail map begins at the entrance to the campground, not at campsite #30, so on your GPS you’ll appear west of the trail for the first 3/4 of a mile or so. On the way back down, take the “upper campground “ fork to arrive back at the Ranger Station

hiking
2 months ago

Could not hike entire trail due to a closure, so hiked a loop (made via another trail) back to parking lot. Fantastic hike, beautiful vegetation.

lovely go in December

lovely trail we did it in December

First time using this app - first review! A solid hike with lots of bird life and a great view midway. I read the reviews so I was looking out for signs and trail markings, not too bad. Also, right turn to take the loop counterclockwise seems like a good idea. About three hours with a break at the top, saw zero people - I’d do it again!

Better for trail running than hiking. I took my young two daughters so it was a good challenge for us. No shade until the oasis.

3 months ago

I love this trail. It’s very well maintained for being rated moderate. I was disappointed because I didn’t see any water at the oasis but the palms are beautiful there.

This trail is fairly attractive with lots of interesting desert wash scenery, but it has absolutely no shade at all except at the Stone House. There's also not a lot of information in the Stone House itself, and the Mission Creek Trail doesn't seem to be well marked out. As of 7/29/2018 the restrooms are out of order, with a sign saying "No running water," and the small spigot behind the restrooms is dry. The trail at this point doesn't seem to be well marked, as my girlfriend and I followed trail signs but ended up going toward the Pacific Coast trail to the southwest of the Stone House, instead of going north up the actual Mission Creek trail.

I think this trail would be much better in more mild weather, but in the summer I would only do this trail on cooler days or after a rain storm, and definitely have a good trail map on hand.

trail running
3 months ago

Very nice trail for running. Some tough points due to elevation but overall it’s fun and safe. The oasis end point is absolutely gorgeous.

A lovely, short hike that offers some pretty views along the way and an oasis at the end.
Having started with the Ryan Mountain hike in the morning, we only got here at around noon and hiked out at about the same time that everyone else was coming back. As one would expect, it gets really hot in June (110+) but the hike isn't long and the oasis offers some shadow to rest in before heading back, making it doable even in summer. As always when hiking in a desert, just make sure that you carry a lot of water and wear a hat.

hiking
3 months ago

This hike offers a great desert experience, just know that there are no Joshua Trees in this part of the park. That said, the hike has some beautiful views of the desert as well as an enjoyable (if small) oasis at the end. We did the hike in early June and knowing that the temperatures would easily get to 110+, we aimed to start as early as possible. In the end, we only managed to hit the trail at around 7am but got back to the car comfortably just before noon even with a detour to the Mastodon Mine.
There is a sign posted close to the trail-head, which warns people that hiking out into the desert could be life-threatening this time of the year, and without bringing enough water, that is very true. We carried almost a gallon each and drank most of it by the time we got back, so if you're planning on doing this hike in summer, make sure you are well prepared and start early in the morning - there is no shadow or water anywhere along the trail. The trail itself is fairly level for most part with only a short, steep descent/ascent to/from the canyon with the palms but, in summer, the heat does make this a fairly strenuous endeavor. Overall, I would definitely recommend the hike, just know your limits and don't even think about doing it in summer without bringing lots of water!
As for wildlife, we saw plenty of rabbits, some antelope squirrels, a kingsnake, and a bunch of reptiles.

its close, up to speed for me, and I would be ok doing this trail by myself.

This trail system only gets better through the years. The group that designs and builds the trails know their stuff when it comes to trail layout.

Nice Chill Place To Hike

hiking
5 months ago

This trail was awesome even this late in the season. I hit the trail early and was back at my car by 1145. The trail rating is moderate is correct in my opinion. There are sections of climbing/bouldering at the canyon entrance and exit. You are also exposed for most of the trail with no water and very limited shade until you reach the oasis. Pictures don’t do this place justice. It was beautiful. I did submit a recording. It accidentally paused it for .7 if a mile. I also didn’t make the full loop the end of the trail so you’re looking at 7.5 miles easy round trip. Be prepared for heat, have water and enjoy! As an experienced hiker this trail was not a waste of time. Not as challenging as some, but there is more to a hike that elevation gain etc.. absolutely beautiful and highly recommend.

Loved this trail!! Saw a bunny and some Bighorn sheep while on this trail!

On the easy side of moderate. Hiked this Memorial Day weekend. Great length for a warm day. Very cool to see the oasis pop up amongst all the rocks. Nice shady spot for a break before heading back to the car. Sad to see tons of people going beyond the sign that marks the sensitive biological area and tells people not to go beyond it. :(

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