nature trips



wild flowers

no dogs


trail running

kid friendly



rock climbing

horseback riding

scenic driving

off road driving


The United States Congress designated the Joshua Tree Wilderness in 1976 and it now has a total of 594,502 acres. All of this wilderness is located in California and is managed by the National Park Service. The Joshua Tree Wilderness is bordered by the Sheephole Valley Wilderness to the north and the Pinto Mountains Wilderness to the north. The California Desert Protection Act of 1994 transformed Joshua Tree National Monument into a national park and expanded the old designated Wilderness by 133,382 acres. The additions thrust north into the Pinto Mountains, northeast into the Coxcomb Mountains, southeast into the Eagle Mountains, and southwest into the Little San Bernardino Mountains. Most of the park away from road corridors is wilderness, a fabulous meeting place of two desert ecosystems. The lower, drier Colorado Desert dominates the eastern half of the park, home to abundant creosote bushes, the spidery ocotillo, and the "jumping" cholla cactus. The slightly more cool and moist Mojave Desert covers the western half of the park, serving as a hospitable breeding ground for the undisciplined Joshua tree. You'll find examples of a third ecosystem within the park: five fan-palm oases, where surface or near-surface water gives life to the stately palms. By day, you might spy bighorn sheep on mountainous slopes, numerous lizards lazing in the heat, and eagles soaring in bright sunlight. Still, it's nighttime that truly brings the desert to life, with tarantulas, rattlesnakes, coyotes, jackrabbits, bobcats, kangaroo rats, and burrowing owls responding to the lure of the dry, cool air. You'll witness some of the most fascinating geologic displays to be found in any of Southern California's desertland: twisted rock formations and granite monoliths painted with faded colors into a giant and beautiful mosaic. These rocks are an immense attraction to rock climbers. You won't find a lot of trails, but you will find travel relatively easy in multitudes of arroyos and playas, bajadas, and narrow ravines that require scrambling over skin-scraping boulders. Carry water. Joshua Tree National Park is made up of 75 percent wilderness and lies 140 miles east of Los Angeles, 175 miles northeast of San Diego, and 215 miles southwest of Las Vegas. You can approach it from Interstate 10 and Hwy 62 (Twentynine Palms Highway). The closest airport is in Palm Springs. Public transportation to the park is not available. 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.

This was a great hike, but make sure to go in the morning or evening because of the exposure to sun the whole way to the oasis, which is where you'll find the shade. Make sure to bring lots of water! There is an incredible amount of stone stairs to climb and descend on the trail as well.

Really cool hike. No water at the oasis on the day we went. Great side mission if you're staying in the J-Tree area.

Great trail! Lightly trafficked and wonderful

7 days ago

I put most of Big Pine together with North View and Maze for a good walk. I was glad to get out of the sandy areas, loved climbing around in the rocks (didn't know that the trail ended where it did so just kept crawling down...). Nothing too difficult.

I was just looking to get some extra miles in and thought it would be simple. I had to turn around before the loop as I couldn't actually find the trail. Everything looked like a good place to walk so it was easy to get off course. No GPS signal.

Good, steady climb. It's mostly stairs with a little bit of well trodden and easily visible path. I did it mid day and it was over 100 degrees at bottom; had a nice breeze at the top so well worth it for that and the great view.

This is for the camping at Cottonwood Springs. Very secluded not many people were camping there (early June) so it was perfect. The Stargazing was absolutely epic. I went to sleep at 10-11 thinking it's barely better than my Tennessee night sky out by the lake but man was I wrong when I woke up at 4 am (by chance). It was breathtaking and I didn't want to go back to sleep. Plus the nature trail was nice right next to the campground.

Great hike to couple with the lost palms oasis trail.

Awesome trail. Great scenery and lots of wildlife. No one was out there however it did reach temps of 100+ but that's expected in June. Bring lots of water and a cooling towel came in handy. Make sure to pay attention, easy to come off the trail in some parts.

Really nice short hike for early morning or later in the evening. You will be exposed to the sun the entire hike so bring plenty of water! 3 miles out and back took us about 1hr 45 minutes. That is with a lot of stopping for pictures. You may encounter some rattle snakes and lizards. We seen a lot of lizards and one rattle snake.

Solid short hike, completely uphill with rock steps to the top. Made it to the top in ~45 minutes for a gorgeous sunrise. Saw 10 bighorn sheep on our way down and actually had to wait them out as they were on the trail chilling.