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A fun little hike in Joshua Tree. Pretty short and easy. Like a lot of places in Joshua Tree, the rock formations are pretty fun to explore and climb. The dam itself and the history are pretty interesting.

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

This hike is lovely. There are two trails, basically shaded and not, that run parallel to each other so you can still get to the caves no matter which you choose.

Not too much trash until you hit the turnoff towards the cave. It’s clear where to go as long as you know you have to turn right towards the mountain. There’s a sign detailing the rules of the park on the left - go the opposite way.

Yes there’s trash and graffiti, though not as much as described in some of these reviews. There may have been a clean up since they went. Once inside the cave there isn’t too much trash, but the graffiti is all over. There are also pigeons inside, which startled me at first then was really cool to watch them fly back and forth.

It’s kind of a scramble to get to the caves. Just a somewhat steep walk to get to the entrance but if you want to go inside you’ll need to scramble a bit. It was my first time here and I did this alone so I didn’t make the climb to castle peak - I didn’t want to risk a free climb, even as easy as it is, by myself so I just turned back around. The scramble down is spookier than up.

There’s a bit of traffic but parking is easy. Just park in the neighborhood on vanowen and the entrance is right there. I saw two couples, three dirt bikers, and two or three individuals hiking like myself. If you like to hike alone I’d say go around 7:30 am so the early crowd has left but the later morning crowed hasn’t quite arrived.

Over all - it was beautiful and I’d do it again. I recommend going in spring or after rain so it’s green and not California brown.

Fun scramble beyond the lake

A very nice hiking loop. We enjoyed it very much.

7 days ago

Went on this hike just today, and it's partly covered with snow at points with lots of mud and wet spots. About a third to halfway through the hike, footing gets to be a problem with the snow and collapsed trail. But after the first half, it's smooth sailing.

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.

We enjoyed this easy loop trail with lots to see and fun photography options. Lots of places to scamper on the rocks and a good trail for those more interested in meandering.

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.

The hike to the dam is easy and the dam itself is worth the visit.

on Paradise Falls Trail

13 days ago

This is great for a quick hike/trail run. Especially if you take the longer trail.

Just Beautiful!!

I have never been hiking in Joshua Tree National Park, so this is a question for those who have traveled and hiked here. Do you have tour guides or just offer maps to hike each trail listed on your own? Thank you!

This was a nice easy scenic trail. Have an opportunity to sit and hang out on the rocks over the damned pond.

21 days ago

The north side of Topanga Park is great, but these caves are trash, covered in bad graffiti, garbage and beer cans everywhere, not kid friendly.

Very nice hike especially in spring when there is still water in the little lake that is barred by the dam. Unfortunately it has the same problem as Hidden Valley...too many people.

24 days ago

nice day hike, easy going with great views. Add Vincent's cabin to finish the day.

I loved this hike. It was well marked, easy terrain, and the damn was interesting to see. There is one small section that might be a bit challenging for those with mobility issues, otherwise a great hike for all skill levels.

This is a fun, quick, and quite easy, hike. a little bit of climbing to get into the cave, but nothing advanced.

This is another of the premiere hikes to be done in these mountains. Starting out around 7 am, there was a biting cold wind that was avoided after getting past the falls. We kept a good pace along the service road to the lodge. I was glad to get some hot coffee there before moving on. The climb got a little tough initially, from getting used to the elevation, and then I found most of Devil's Backbone to be a steady climb. I diverted over to the summit of Mt. Harwood and then came back down to the main trail. My favorite part of this stretch was seeing into the Mojave to Victorville and other areas to the east, The wind was cold a fierce along the Harwood part of the trail, and finally it was blocked on the last stretch to the summit. A break there was nice, and so was the geocache. We came down the Ski Hut trail and it was fairly easy going most of the way. We hit the service road at sunset, and it was a short time back to the parking lot.

I really enjoyed this hike, it was short and easy to follow. Once we reached the dam we climbed some rocks and relaxed and took in the beautiful view. I would definitely like to do this hike again.

Very crowded on a Sunday morning, which was to be expected for such a nice trail that wasn’t too difficult and you are rewarded with the waterfall at the bottom!

Rather easy , even for an active senior..

Fun trail, but heavily trafficked.

Up, up and up! If you are looking for a relaxing hike look elsewhere. This is strenuous. Really enjoyed the views. Gorgeous! A bunch of hikers on a Saturday but it was still a whole lot of fun. On our way down we stopped at the ski lodge and had a celebratory beer. I recommend bringing a small lunch. This hike takes it out of you and you will be starving! Slept like a baby after this summit!

A simple walk with a bit of a scramble to get up to the actual cave. A fair amount of traffic most days.

This was the most beautiful hike I’ve been on! The lakes were like turquoise gems against the snow patched craggy mountains. The switchbacks take you up into the John Muir Wilderness where a surge of water runs along your path. You can rest by Lon Chaney’s old cabin and continue on to find more gorgeous lakes as you walk. True story: I inhaled a mountain fly and within a few minutes it came out my nose. I swear...disgusting but true. The nice thing is that you can choose to go out six miles or complete the whole trail and you will feel accomplished either way.

Great fun with kids. We scrambled the rocks early on, up to the top. Good shade from tree cover. Nice views.

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