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Joshua Tree Wilderness was established in 1976 by The United States Congress and was later expanded by the California Desert Protection Act of 1994. Today the park is managed by the National Parks Service and covers a total of 594,502 acres of California desert The park extended north into the Pinto Mountains, northeast into the Coxcomb Mountains, southeast into the Eagle Mountains, and southwest into the Little San Bernardino Mountains. The Eastern areas of the park contain the drier Colorado Desert. Here you will see creosote bushes, ocotillo, and "jumping" cholla cactus. The Western half of the park contains the Mojave Desert, where you will see ample Joshua trees, one of the most iconic desert plants. Throughout the park you may also find palm tree laden oases, bighorn sheep, lizards, rattlesnakes, birds, coyotes, jackrabbits, burrowing owls, and more wildlife. You'll also see Southern California's iconic desert landscape and it's fascinating geology. Rock formations and granite monoliths are all around you, attracting rock climbers and hikers alike. Stargazing and camping opportunities abound. Joshua Tree National Park is 140 miles east of Los Angeles, 175 miles northeast of San Diego, and 215 miles southwest of Las Vegas. You can get there via Interstate 10 and Hwy 62 (Twentynine Palms Highway). The closest airport is in Palm Springs. There are three park entrance stations: 1) The west entrance is located five miles south of the junction of Highway 62 and Park Boulevard at Joshua Tree Village. 2) The north entrance is in Twentynine Palms, three miles south of the junction of Highway 62 and Utah Trail. 3) The south entrance at Cottonwood Spring, which lies 25 miles east of Indio, can be approached from the east or west, also via Interstate 10.

Was a good hike. Beautiful scenery, but really need to warn people that the trail from south part to north is virtually nonexistent. Pretty much had to cross country through rock field to find north route, and even then it was pretty much pick and choose. Enjoyed it, but 8.8 miles and 4 hours turned into almost 12 miles and over 5 hours. Also saw some hieroglyphics at the 4 1/2mile mark up the hill on the left.

Great easy ride only one spot that is tight with rocks.

Short 1 mile hike. Gives a real feel for the park. Breathtaking rock formations and all kinds of desert plants. The trail is marked very well and has signs explaining what you're seeing.

I thought this trail would be so-so because it’s very popular and heavily trafficked. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong. It was our first hike in Joshua Tree and a great choice. The scenery and views are incredible. If you hike fast enough you can get a bit of a workout. The oasis is really cool and there was a ton of water there when we went.

This is a hike that requires either good map and compass and route finding skills (and perhaps a bit of luck), or moderate map skills and a GPS. Perseverance is also big help. There is no real established trail to the top as far as I could tell. The middle of the hike is relatively easy to follow as you walk up porcupine wash (there are a couple of decision forks but it is relatively easy to follow the proper route). No so for the beginning and end of the hike. The herd path from the parking lot actually misses the wash - we followed this path from the lot, even up through a small pass complete with cairns marking the "trail". Finally checked the compass and realized we were way off. Looked at GPS and we were 1/2 mile from porcupine wash, made a bee-line for the wash to get back on track. On the way back to the car out of the wash did not see many tracks (the wash is very wide approaching the lot) so just be aware the main path from the lot may be a faise trail to follow. The wash is a little to the right of the main herd path we initially followed. Once in the wash, you follow it for miles to the large open valley north of Monument Mountain. You'll know it when you finally enter this, and can see Monument Mountain off to the left as you hike west. It's best to stay in the wash for a while rather than head straight to the mountain. Stick to the left side of the wash and eventually you can see a cut (wash) in the distance heading up a hill toward the direction of the mountain (we were in the wash in the valley for about 1.5 miles before turning direct to the mountain). Break out of the wash "valley" as (or before) going gets tough and then just head cross country over a bunch of ridges to get to the peak. There is no real path from this point to the mountain, everyone has found their own route it seems. We ended up approaching the final peak climb from the north side, the slope was more gradual than straight up from the east although the east face is doable just steep in places. The view from the top of the mountain is pretty great. Did this as an overnight backpack, recommend that vs long day hike. Also worth noting that with the meandering that takes place as you walk through the miles of wash, my GPS put this at closer to 19.5 miles round trip (even eliminating the error at the beginning I mentioned above). Gave it 3 stars - if you are into following established trails it is probably 1 star, if you are adventure seeking and enjoy finding your own path it is probably 5 stars.

hiking
4 days ago

Don't miss the *real* Hall of Horrors. =)

beautiful winter hike

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.

This was a short easy trail, suitable for families with small children. Which there were quite a few just climbing and playing on the rocks. Skull rock is pretty cool to see in person and worth stopping by to snap a couple pictures with it.

It’s not an easy hike and there’s not much of a trail to follow. Set out alone on day one and couldn’t find it. Found a spot to camp for the night snd then set out again the following day with a partner. The key is to know what the mountain peak looks like. You can see it off in the distance from the parking lot at the backcountry board. The route I took led me off trail and I had to cheat by following a dropped pin in Google Maps. Once I found the main wash it was easier to stay on course. There are so many high ridges and false peaks you may think you’re never going to find it. But if you stay in the wash it’ll open into a large flat valley and Monument Mountain will be clearly visible on the left. I took a rather direct approach and it was very difficult. I’m sure there are easier/more gradual routes. Definitely worth the effort. Amazing views from the top. Don’t forget to sign the register.

hiking
7 days ago

The view from the top, overlooking valleys in high (Mohave) and low (Colorado) deserts is breathtaking. The hike to the top is moderately strenuous to the point of being a very pleasant workout. The trail is impeccably maintained. The description here says it is moderately trafficked. There were a lot of people there today but not enough to cause a problem.

This is a very nice little walk through an amazing little grove of jumping cholla cactus. Today there weren’t any of the papers with the information relating to the sign posts along the way. It would have been nice to learn more about the cactus ecology.

off road driving
8 days ago

Be prepared for a very bumpy climb. The trail is misleading. Starting from the south, the first 20 minutes are very easy and flat. It quickly changes as you climb. This trail may have a moderate rating but the climb is pretty intense. I have a Land Rover LR4 with stock wheels and I managed to make it out alive, but I did have a very difficult time in certain areas. The trail has had a lot of erosion so some of the gaps have become very large. DO NOT ATTEMPT WITHOUT A HIGH CLEARANCE VEHICLE. A Subaru Forester in front of me had to turn turn around. Plan to be driving at least 1.5 to 2 hours.

All that said, I had a thrilling and memorable experience on this trail. 5 out of 5.

If you want to hike this trail you must pay a $25 7-day pass to get into the park.
P.S. I wish more people would comment the fact that you must pay to get to most of these trails because they are in the National Park.

To get to this trail you must pay for a 7-day pass which is $25 because it is in the National Park.

hiking
9 days ago

Very long and flat desert trek with not much variation until the final 1/4. Final destination is underwhelming. Not nearly as interesting or rewarding as other JT hikes.

hiking
10 days ago

Sped up and down this trail in less than one hour. Stairs make it a total workout, but the view of the desert and mountains all around are totally worth it.

Pretty little nature trail with signs describing the plants. Perfect for families, but a bit too over crowded for me! Great spot for some rock scrambling, though.

hiking
10 days ago

A fairly tough climb up but great views along the way. Awesome huge boulders at the base to explore once you come down.

A great first intro hike to Joshua Tree! Very easy but with lots of great things to see. Takes less than an hour.

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