One of my new favorite hikes! I was a little concerned about the off roading in my VW Jetta, but I drove slowly 10-15mph and luckily had no problems with the soft sand. We did park about 1 mile before the actual trail, because the sand was getting softer and we saw a truck ahead of us get stuck. So regardless of a car, of course a 4WD is better but you still run a risk of getting stuck. Just drive slower than usual and go around the dips. As for the hike, it was awesome! A spontaneous and true adventure, the ladders were sturdy, plenty of shade between the canyons but once you get to the loop there is no shade. Take plenty of water for hydration. FYI as of 5/23/20 there is a wasp hive - so we were not able to truly finish the whole hike. Once you get to the top rock formation, this is about the middle of the hike, I suggest you turn back or else you will stumble upon the wasp hive. Happy Hiking!

This trail is a hidden gem. If you are staying at Joshua Tree, it’s about an hour and a half drive and absolutely worth it. We went when it was 95 degrees and there are long sections of sun exposure with no shade, but when you get to the ravine, it’s incredibly awesome. Be sure to bring plenty of water, my wife and I drank just over two liters each. If you go when the temps are up, bring some snacks and a lunch. You’ll be glad you did. You will also need a light to get through a 30 foot section. There is a little bit of scrambling, and you need to be in reasonable shape to do this hike.

on Rope Canyon Trail

hiking
12 days ago

This loop was a true gem!! Such a fun, adventurous trail with narrow areas, rock scrambling, ropes, ladders, and beautiful rock formations. It was very unique. Perfect for a family outing. Bonus was that there was plenty of shade and we had the trail to ourselves!

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
18 days ago

We arrived right before noon, so we got the heat!! Make sure to bring alot of water. We missed the trail and ended up doing it backwards. There is a small trail sign on the right and on the left a rock formation of an arrow that we missed. We also parked 2 miles away from the start of the trail with my toyota hatchback, didn’t want to get stuck in the sand.

Recent rains washed out the roads up to the canyon, but the wash outs are more than passable. The slot canyons are beautiful and the ladders are a unique experience. Recommend starting early in the summer.

hiking
30 days ago

Hiked this trail today with no issues regarding the ladders. There’s lots of places you can take a wrong turn, so do your do diligence and download the map beforehand! I placed a couple Cairns but some turns are easy to miss. Also, make sure you watch the weather and plan accordingly. The trail is mostly out in the open and temps can rise well into the 100s. We started at 7am and ended just when the heat really started to pick up. BRING LOTS OF WATER. This is a hot, dry canyon. Aside from those notes, this is a really fun trail. Will definitely be back to check out some of the other trails in the area!

Great hike. Do it clockwise, especially if you are looking to beat the heat (in summer, best to leave the trailhead by 7am or so) and get the sun-lit ridge done first. Watch for rattlesnakes. Varied scenery makes for a very enjoyable hike, and the ladder components add an element of fun.

When you park about a 1/3rd of a mile up is the big arrow in the ground pointing to the left where you start the trail. Look for it so you don’t end up doing the trail backwards. Beautiful scenery at the top of the canyon. Lots of blooming wild flowers and butterflies out. We got here early to beat the heat & enjoyed this trail very much. Lots to do & explore. Our two girls also enjoyed it.

on Rope Canyon Trail

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Fun trail with beautiful scenery there is some tight places you have to go through and a lot of climbing

Need 4 wheel drive to get to the trail, or park a mile or 2 from the trailhead and hike there. Many cars get stuck in the soft sand. Once you get to the entrance, look out for arrows in the rock to follow the trail. They often get destroyed though so it’s easy to take a wrong turn. Keep All Trails open to make sure you don’t take a wrong turn! Wouldn’t bring dogs or young kids because you have to climb ladders and ropes. Best time when it’s cooler because a lot of sun. The slot canyons are cooler and beautiful.

No issues with road closures today 3.29.20. Tons of cars and SUV’s without AWD or 4 wheel drive getting stuck along Painted Canyon Rd. No issues for our 4Runner 4x4. Fun trail, small streams were flowing throughout. Not nearly as many slot canyons as I imagined there were would be but the wild flowers were blooming and butterflies were everywhere so that was nice. Overall solid way to spend a few hours.

We had a regular 2wd car and it was pretty doable if you take your time. A lot of raised eyebrows from the trucks and jeeps. we stopped once the sand started getting dangerously deep about a mile before the trailhead cause we didn’t want to chance it. The trail itself is in prime shape except for the first ladder which is shredded. I uploaded a pic. One of us climbed it successfully anyway. I have been here 2 other times and it was dry as a damn bone, so It was very cool too see it now with the tricking stream winding along the path in the painted canyon. Water is also flowing down the walls of the last two drops on the back half with the rope and ladder, but it wasn’t dangerous, just wet. The recent rains also made for some healthy & beautiful plant life. The green and red radiating arms of the ocotillos were dancing in the wind. flowers of all kinds were popping. The desert willows that were sprinkled along the drive up to the trailhead smelled glamorous, aquatic yet breezy, like an aliens fresh laundry. Please keep this place nice, it’s such a cool zone

hiking
bridge out
2 months ago

2nd ladder got buried, I’m guessing the recent rain storm that closed Box Canyon Rd. I dug it out, while my wife ate her lunch, then sent her up it but the ladder broke on me :-( It seems a lot of the ladders got damaged recently. Whomever can donate some on their trips will definitely help the cause and be able to complete the hike. The 1st ladder is a psychological challenge as it’s cabled to the granite rock, kind of a trip. If that ladder were to break while on it, very bad news.

Love this trail but the road is closed due to flooding. Check the link below for road closures before heading out :) Painted Canyon Rd to Box Canyon Rd Box Canyon Rd to Coachella Canal https://rctlma.org/trans/road_main_road_closures.aspx for

I love this hike, I typically take guests annually and they all love it... but yes, as of today, 3/23/20 there is no way I can find to get there. We went through Mecca first, the road is closed at the aqueduct. So we tried to drive off of I-10 near the south entrance to Joshua Tree and that road is closed as well. If this opens anytime soon please update, or if anyone knows another way to get there. Thanks!!

Road closed today :-(

Heads up...Box Canyon Road closed today. Rains made the dirt road in very difficult to get through without 4wd. Also ranger was on site writing tickets for people who ignored the road closure.

Everything in the other reviews and descriptions are accurate, but make sure your vehicle has high clearance and all wheel drive (or 4 wheel). The road to the trailhead is washed out and sandy and a two wheel drive will get stuck (we saw one getting pushed out). Also, there are signs that said the road was closed but everyone ignored it and the parking lot was actually quite full at the trailhead. For this particular hike make sure you do NOT go up the main trail. That’s for the canyons with ladders. Hike out the parking lot, away from the trailhead signage and continue up the broad, open canyon. It will narrow as you go further up it. There is also a really cool, small side canyon that has an open near the parking lot as you head up Little Painted Canyon. It’s on the left hand side and is a bit shy of 1 mile up in length. It’s worth checking out!

hiking
2 months ago

We did this trail March 17. Road difficult to get through but doable with a truck. We found this trail challenging due to washed out ladders. I recommend that you pay very close attention to your All Trails GPS map, it’s very easy to get off trail. Also, bring an extra phone battery.

Hiked this 03/15/20. The day itself was beautiful, but rain from earlier in the week had washed out the roads leading to the trail. ((The road was closed when we drove back— but not at the time of entry .)) I’m not sure how the roads look pre-rain, but they were *gnarly* on this trip and difficult to traverse in my Tucson 2WD. Additionally, ladders were missing which made some parts of the trail potentially dangerous. Aside from the awesome slot canyon in the beginning and the water fall at the end (made trickier without a ladder) the hike itself was pretty simple — and even boring along the ridge. I would definitely still recommend this hike, but having a 4WD is encouraged at this time, or wait for dryer weather.

Is the road open to the trailhead parking yet?

2020 03 15. Roads in are closed.

I love this hike. For the sake of others I'm writing a review and will say that as of 03/12/2020 the road to the hike is closed due to flooding. Its washed out and the dirt road that leads directly to the trailhead is washed out as well making it impassible. I'm writing this on the 15th. I don't know when it'll be safe to drive through it again. I will try to hike it again at the end of April. Hopefully it'll be open by then.

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