Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Joshua Tree National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
1 month ago

Did this 5/10 as a one day solo hike. Started at 3 am under the stars at Black Rock Campground, and ended at 6 pm at the 29Palms entrance booth. Had a friend meet me at Ryan Campground for extra water and food. The trail is well marked, but don’t rely on that; you really don’t want to get lost in the vastness of the park. Saw plenty of wildlife, and not a single other person on the trail. Longest hike I ever did, loved it, might make it an annual event.

Maybe it's because that was one of the last hike of the day, but I found it a little dull.

Incredible and easy. Terrain changes from open and flat to Boulders and rock formations.

hiking
2 months ago

Agree with prior reviews that the trail is longer than posted, and that it is relatively flat (~150 ft elevation). Missed the path into Pine City and went on the spur along Pine Canyon and to the Twentynine Palms overlook. Did not go beyond the maintenance (or lack thereof) sign. On return, stepped over log and rocks to explore Pine City. Afterward returning to the carpark, took the short trail to the house ruin and Desert Queen mine overlook. A great afternoon complementing the morning's geology tour and getting away from the Spring Break crowd at Hidden Valley.

Did this trail from Black Rock Canyon campground to Ryans camp over this past weekend with scouts from BSA Troop 384. Great scenery, excellent weather.

Starting out takes you across flat desert for a mile or so. After that, you get into the Wonderland of Rocks. It lives up to its name. Winding, rocky trail with different formations at every turn. It was a fun, moderate hike.

2 months ago

A very nice hike through many zones of the park. Great to park a car at Indian Cove then drive back and start from the top so most of the hike is downhill.

No sign in at the trailhead and the parking area is for day use only, no over night parking. Probably a great hike though if you get there early enough.

A fantastic overnighter (Indian Cove-Willow Hole-back). One of the better trails for a moderate backpack trip in JT and nice for a solo excursion. All the uphill is near the beginning at Indian Cove, followed by cathedrals of rock formations. Going in ~5 miles to camp in the rocks is nice, then ~13 miles to Willow Hole and back.

Tips: Camping is only on the west side of the Boy Scout trail and not allowed on the Willow Hole trail. There's a lot of sandy washes so gaiters might be good. Midweek is nice and quiet. Take sun protection seriously and pack lots of water! That's standard fare for JT but being 6+ miles from anything means "for reals."

hiking
3 months ago

I would recommend starting this trail at the opposite end and maybe turning around after the slot canyon. The views were much better a couple miles in, although the slot canyon was fun.
Sand makes for a little tougher ascent but it’s gradual so not too bad.
What I loved about this trail is the fact that it is less visited and you can go miles without seeing anyone.

Beautiful!! Slightly uphill the whole way but awesome view everywhere — I ran 1 hour in but next time I’d like to run 1:20 in so pretty!!

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.

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.

Trail is well marked, as well as unremarkable. Wash running uphill with a few rocks here and there. Found dirty water at willow hole. Cool rock formations once there. This would be an awesome trail to do right after a big rain, as the majority of it is in a wash.

Good trail with almost no shade. Going west to east, the first day of hiking is better as the trail is more diverse. The trail took me two days and I camped around juniper flats. Good trail.

Beautiful trail and fantastic rock formations. Many areas to discover on this trail. The view at the top of spectacular

This trail is easy to find and there is plenty of parking. We started in the nature center parking lot. We did not do the entire 37 miles, we only went about 2 miles in. We added on the Fault Line trail and came back through the Boundry Trail East. The ground is soft and sandy for most of the trail. Takes your right through the Joshua Trees. There are a lot of cool smaller trails to take off of the CR&H Trail (which is what we did). It is very exposed. We went when the weather was cool, but it was still very sunny. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and hats! Also, watch for horses.

backpacking
Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Willow Hole Trail was "day use only", which I wasn't aware of when planning this trip. I found a great place to camp off of the Boy Scout Trail instead.

Did a few years ago. Loved the ruins!

Most beautiful 38 miles I've ever hiked

What a fun, easy backpack trip. It's popular from the parking lot to the Willow Hole, but after that, you have it to yourself. Wildflowers were just starting when I did it 2/10/2017, but should be peaking in Mid March. Trail is clear and there are abundant opportunities to climb on rocks. The trail from the Willow Hole to the Indian Cove Trailhead is absolutely breathtaking. Do watch the water thing, but's that's Joshua Tree, isn't it. At one day, at least I didn't have to carry too much.

backpacking
Monday, March 06, 2017

Easy to loose track of the trail (sandy wash) but great wandering around the desert

hiking
Sunday, January 22, 2017

This is one of three trails that can be accessed from the parking lot on Desert Queen Mine Road, an unpaved road in the north half of the park. The other two trails are the Desert Queen Mine trail and the Lucky Boy Vista – Queen Mine Loop trail, which is a much longer loop that includes the first two.

This hike is rather longer than the sign in the parking lot indicates. Someone had changed the original official length on the trail head sign from 1.1 mile to 1.9 mile by scratching a little square on the one to make it a nine. But our GPS indicated that the length of the trail from the trail head to Pine Canyon/Pine City was 2.3 or 2.4 miles. Much longer than stated and almost five miles for out and back.

The first part of the trail was very flat and in spite of the trail’s name, we found only two pine trees along the way. As we approached Pine Canyon, the view was much more interesting. We were able to look down into a large gash in the rock that was, we think, Pine Canyon. This stretched for quite a distance and provided great views.

We did not go into Pine Canyon so cannot report on that part of this trail.

All the hiking here is great

backpacking
Friday, June 03, 2016

This is my favorite trail in Joshua Tree so far. It isn't overly strenuous and the views are awesome. When I think back to everything I did there, I always remember this hike first. There are plenty of cool places to wander off the main trail to make yourself a hidden camp for the night among the various rock outcroppings. Be sure to bring a headlamp and plenty of battery power for your camera so you can wander about at sunset taking pictures and enjoying the night sky. This was a wonderful hike, I would gladly do it again.

I hiked the full 38 miles of this trail just before Thanksgiving of last year. The goal was to complete it in under two days. Starting at Black Rock canyon I managed to complete a very challenging 26 miles the first day. Set up camp in the backcountry then finished the final 12 the next morning before noon. It takes you the entire west-east length of the scenic part of Joshua Tree.

Backpacked out to this area back in '13. Certainly a wash. Nice area if you like the desert. Watch out for jumping cholla.

It was good

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