Lost Palms Oasis

MODERATE 183 reviews
#4 of 98 trails in

Lost Palms Oasis is a 7.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Desert Center, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.

DISTANCE
7.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,026 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no dogs

As of December 2018, users have reported that the short Cottonwood Spring Road leading to the trailhead is closed. Visitors must park at the campground and start from there.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
10 hours ago

Probably more like 3.5 stars- lovely scenery but not mind blowing in terms of the destination (the oasis). Low-moderate difficultly- Not too many large changes in elevation. A nice outing though.

hiking
7 days ago

Honestly it was a really great hike I went on Sunday and there was a light traffic of people, however it was still extremely enjoyable. I’ll admit I actually got off the path a few times, so I had to use this apps map to help me get back on course. Going down to the actual palm trees was a challenge, but it was worth it. There are many beautiful scenarios along the way so I recommend doing this hike.

hiking
16 days ago

A lovely hike but very steep small section to get into the oasis. We returned via the Mastadon loop, and there were lovely flowers and many hummingbirds. However the very end to rerun to Cottonwood Springs parking is confusing as the area was closed after flooding.

17 days ago

Great walk, lots of variety, ups and downs. It;s a bit of a clamber down the canyon at the end, but not too bad. We took our 7 and 9 yo and did the whole thing in about 4 hours. Definitely worth the hike. Views of the salton see on the way

hiking
26 days ago

My favorite hike in JTNP! A wide variety of terrain, sweeping views, periodic animal sightings, and a huge diversity of plant life, including some unexpected desert blooms even though it's winter! At the end point we hiked down into the oasis. Based on a tip from hikers coming back out of the oasis, we did not descend at the Lost Palms Canyon sign. They said it was steep and gravelly and you could get better footing by descending further to the right, walk up the oasis, then ascend via the Lost Palms Canyon path. We followed their advice and it was a good tip. There is no signage or markers if you descend further to the right but people have placed cairns along the way to guide you. Having been into the oasis canyon once, I don't think I'd bother again. For me it was anticlimactic and I preferred the view from above. I plan to hike the entire trail again in the future, just probably won't descend into the canyon from now on.

hiking
1 month ago

The road is open again, as of 12-19-18.
Very nice hike. Lovely vistas the whole way to the oasis.

1 month ago

Yes, the road to the parking lot is still washed out, but we really enjoyed this trail, beginning from the Cottonwood Campground and starting with the upper half of the Mastodon Loop trail. Our hike was 10 miles, 4.5 hours with a lunch break at the bottom of the oasis (you have to go down into the oasis if you can do it). The was some water in the oasis, maybe due to a bit of rain last week. The weather has been cool so we only saw a few lizards on our way back but also saw a fox and a jack rabbit closer to the campground area.

hiking
1 month ago

11/21/18 This was our first hike as a couple! The road that leads into the trail is still closed. The rangers were very helpful in helping us navigate to the start of the trail. We made a few wrong turns but we were able to navigate back on the trail. The app is so helpful! Our entire hike ended up being 11 miles (lol) and took 5.25 hours. The oasis at the end did not have any water but some palm trees at the bottom of the canyon. Very cool view. Weather was perfect with a nice breeze which was welcome. If you want to save yourself a couple miles I’d suggest driving up to the camping area where there is parking near the group sites and entrance to the trail. We would definitely do this next time.

2 months ago

5/5 stars, great views of the park, some cool boulders and the oasis at the end was cherry on top! Definitely worth the trek. We had to start from the campgrounds and do the loop behind the Cottonwood Springs campground due to the road being washed out. Added an extra 2 or 2.5 miles, making the hike about 4 hours total.

2 months ago

Did this hike two days ago. Cottonwood Trail, the main trail to Lost Palms, and the road to it, are closed due to being washed out from floods. If you want to hike to Lost Palms you can park at Campground A-B and take the trail toward Mastodon Peak. Once you pass the gold mine and Mastodon Peak go down the hill to Lost Palms Oasis Trail and take a left. Then it’s the Trail as normal to List Palms. This way adds about 1.5-2 miles to the normal hike. Great views as always.

hiking
4 months ago

Could not hike entire trail due to a closure, so hiked a loop (made via another trail) back to parking lot. Fantastic hike, beautiful vegetation.

4 months ago

lovely trail we did it in December

hiking
6 months ago

This hike offers a great desert experience, just know that there are no Joshua Trees in this part of the park. That said, the hike has some beautiful views of the desert as well as an enjoyable (if small) oasis at the end. We did the hike in early June and knowing that the temperatures would easily get to 110+, we aimed to start as early as possible. In the end, we only managed to hit the trail at around 7am but got back to the car comfortably just before noon even with a detour to the Mastodon Mine.
There is a sign posted close to the trail-head, which warns people that hiking out into the desert could be life-threatening this time of the year, and without bringing enough water, that is very true. We carried almost a gallon each and drank most of it by the time we got back, so if you're planning on doing this hike in summer, make sure you are well prepared and start early in the morning - there is no shadow or water anywhere along the trail. The trail itself is fairly level for most part with only a short, steep descent/ascent to/from the canyon with the palms but, in summer, the heat does make this a fairly strenuous endeavor. Overall, I would definitely recommend the hike, just know your limits and don't even think about doing it in summer without bringing lots of water!
As for wildlife, we saw plenty of rabbits, some antelope squirrels, a kingsnake, and a bunch of reptiles.

hiking
7 months ago

This trail was awesome even this late in the season. I hit the trail early and was back at my car by 1145. The trail rating is moderate is correct in my opinion. There are sections of climbing/bouldering at the canyon entrance and exit. You are also exposed for most of the trail with no water and very limited shade until you reach the oasis. Pictures don’t do this place justice. It was beautiful. I did submit a recording. It accidentally paused it for .7 if a mile. I also didn’t make the full loop the end of the trail so you’re looking at 7.5 miles easy round trip. Be prepared for heat, have water and enjoy! As an experienced hiker this trail was not a waste of time. Not as challenging as some, but there is more to a hike that elevation gain etc.. absolutely beautiful and highly recommend.

hiking
8 months ago

Nice morning stroll if you are camping in cottonwood camping. Took about 3 hours, including going a bit deeper once I reached the palm trees. It's nice, and getting to oasis spring is special, it feels like you just arrived somewhere totally different with these big trees.

hiking
9 months ago

Miles 1-2.5 are moderately strenuous, upgrade out and downgrade return. Thereafter the trail becomes more challenging with steep sections, wide and narrow washes, a steep switchback down to the Oasis from the sign, and nary any shade. Definitely doable in dry weather. Mind the previous comments about distance, heat, and bringing plenty of water. The scenery is awesome.

hiking
9 months ago

Few things in my opinion - "wind in the desert can be a bonus", meaning it can make it a cooler hike, and helpful (gusts to 20 mph are just fine)l. This hike is 9 miles RT - about 2.5 miles of this hike are a bit boring admittedly, but the rest is quite scenic. The steep "sketchy trail" at Lost Palms area is a challenge - There are maybe 30 Fan Palms down there in the steep canyon. Finding and negotiating the small loop down in the steep canyon is vague, and requires moderate bouldering skills, and maybe a GPS. More than 20-30% of folks wont't be able to do the short loop at Lost Palms, though this should not deter one from going down there if you can make it. It is steep coming back up from Lost Palms as well. Make sure to take enough water (you will be sorry if you don't - respect the desert). Lastly, do hike Mastedon Peak near the trail head, it's one of the two main highlights of the hike, an should not be missed.

9 months ago

Overhyped? Uninteresting? Wow. Some people just don’t open their eyes. Don’t listen to naysayers. This hike is a gem.

hiking
9 months ago

Best trail in the park! The Palm trees are huge. Be sure to venture down in to the canyon to get a closer look. The scenery a long the trail to get there is pretty amazing also! Love those rock formations and all the different cacti!

hiking
9 months ago

Honestly, the reviews on this trail are a bit overhyped. It's a fairly boring 3.5mi walk out to a canyon where a few cool-looking palm trees reside. If you're an experienced hiker looking for a challenge, this will not be at all fullfilling.

hiking
9 months ago

Overall not an interesting hike. The views are pretty, you can see the Salton Sea from a distance but the palm trees at the end were not worth it. Also not a difficult hike, it’s very flat, just long. Visit the palm trees at the front and then go explore the rest of the park. Don’t waste your time!

hiking
9 months ago

Great views with interesting rocky hills. Go early to avoid the crowds.

hiking
10 months ago

Such a beautiful hike. Not to difficult! Finished in 3 hours and 25 minutes!

10 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

One of my favorite hikes in Joshua Tree. Lots of cool vegetation and rock formations, and the oasis is a great place to break for a lunch below the palms. The view between the mountains approaching the oasis is great, as are the views on almost the entire return hike, where the San Jacinto mountains and Salton Sea can be seen.

Either on the way there or the way back make sure to stop by Mastodon Peak for some amazing views. The path up to the very top is just a bunch of boulders that need to be scrambled over, but it isn’t very challenging and is very much worth it.

birding
10 months ago

The oasis is NOT anticlimactic. It’s absolutely beautiful seeing and (surprisingly) smelling a hidden grove of giant palms in the middle of the montane desert. Fed by an underground spring, the trees have an incredibly sweet, woody smell.

10 months ago

Nice hike for getting a feel for the environment of Joshua Tree - spiky plants, rolling desert hills and rocky features, maybe a few critters. The oasis itself is neat but not spectacular, fun to climb down to. The climb into the oasis is really the only tricky part terrain-wise, all the rest is slightly hilly trail but not too steep.
Did in Feb. 2018 and the weather was in the high 70's the whole morning. Took 3-4 hours, a feasible way to spend a morning or an afternoon.

hiking
10 months ago

This was a moderate hike for me, we took the mastodon rock loop to start so it ended up over 8 miles total. Was nice and scenic though the oasis at the end a little anticlimactic.

hiking
10 months ago

Lots and lots of water is recommended and sun screen

hiking
10 months ago

Nice hike through a part of the desert with very diverse Fauna. There is always something to see. The Oasis is not spectacular but worth seeing. I fully recommend this trail.

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