Mastodon Peak Loop Trail

EASY 69 reviews
#11 of 87 trails in

Mastodon Peak Loop Trail is a 2.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Desert Center, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until October.

2.3 miles
331 feet

kid friendly



nature trips



wild flowers




washed out

no dogs

This is a relatively easy hike. Lots of desert plants and flowers to see along with beautiful views. On clear days you can see the Salton Sea. There is an old mine to explore (only from outside as entrance has been sealed).

15 days ago

First easy trail we did in Joshua Tree National Park. I really enjoyed it! I climbed to the peak and the view was nice. The mine was neat to see as well. It was extremely windy the day we went...had to wear a sweater the whole time.

29 days ago

A good hike to start the day with. The scramble up to the top of Mastodon Peak is fairly easy and the view from the top is worthwhile.

1 month ago

Fun little nature trail

1 month ago

Pebble area on trail felt like a foot massage. Great view of mines. Great trail for kids ages 6+.

2 months ago

worthwhile scenic walk/hike, easy to moderate. large rock formations and gratifying views. Salton Sea view at peak. Southern entrance to Joshua Tree not as infamous, visitor center friendly.
Be prepared for some soft sand in washes. Agree good introductory to this park.

4 months ago

I did this trail in September. It was my first short day hike of my 12 day road trip as I just arrived in San Diego the day before to start the journey. The part from the trailhead to the peak is relatively easy as the trail is super clear. It's a beaten path with stairs. The trail past the peak (where you can find a mine ruin) is pretty tricky. As I climbed over the peak on the west side, I wandered off more towards the west on the trail and followed a dried up riverbed, or wash instead and got myself lost. I only found out about it when the rocks were getting steeper and steeper. I couldn't image this being a part of an 'easy' rate hike. It definitely scared me for a moment. Luckily the gps on my phone worked so I could find the right direction to the trailhead. I ended up right behind the palm tree oase and had to bush wack for a bit. So, even though it's rated as an easy hike please be careful with the washes past the mine ruins / Mastodon peak. Get an offline or paper map.

4 months ago

I did this trail on a relatively cool day (lower '70s with a breeze). The conditions couldn't have been much better. I ended up extending the hike by walking on the Lost Palms Oasis Trail for about a mile and then coming back to finish the loop. The loop itself is fairly easy, but make sure to bring a hat and plenty of water.

6 months ago

Hiked this trail from Cottonwood Campground last week. Its an amazing hike, took about 2 hours all in all, and there are a few areas where you have to climb/navigate rocks. There a few posted signs with directions but definitely download an offline digital/paper map as well. Beware though that on the loop back to the campground after scaling the peak, one can easily walk off the trail if they're not paying attention. And in the summer temperatures that is really dangerous.

6 months ago

Nice place to go without the crowds.

7 months ago

I did this loop on the way back from the Lost Palms Oasis trail, which shares the path for about 0.6 of a mile from the parking lot. The Mastadon Peak trail T's off to the east. It's clearly marked.

The way up the trail has some steep parts, but it's well-maintained. There are stairs cut in the rock at a few points.

If you're going to go to the top of the rock formation, you'll need to go the back side (east). The way up is not immediately obvious and is not maintained. You'll need to do some scrambling to get up there, some of which is a little close to a nice drop off the east side. I wouldn't recommend this for kids, or anyone that's too limited in their physical ability.

Just to the west of the rock formation is an old mine. It's worth a look.

Much of the rest of the loop north from the mine was through washes, with nothing much new to see. Towards the end, there is another mine area, but not much to see there. I don't care much for walking through washes as I get weary of rocks in my boots. If I do this trail again, I will probably do an out-and-back between the parking lot and the rock formation, and avoid the wash portion of the loop altogether.

7 months ago

Pretty neat trail, loved the old mine too. Several sightings of desert wildlife.

8 months ago

Great hike to couple with the lost palms oasis trail.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

interesting trail. rock formations and remains of mining. the peak itself has a great view of Joshua tree national park. lots of rock stairs but that adds to the beauty of it

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Great hike at Joshua Tree. Not to bad for Children. Go early before it gets hot. Stay on trails. One rattlesnake when climbing to the peak.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Beautiful flowers, mild hike

Monday, January 05, 2015

Nice wildflowers in the lower portion in the spring. Look for the Chuckwallas (big lizards) in the upper portion.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

i will go there tomorrow. your trip looks great, thank you for uploading!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

If you’re coming to Joshua Tree National Park from the I-10 and don’t have much time, Mastodon Loop Trail has old mines, great views, and cool rocks to climb. Pretty much everything but the Joshua Trees! (Date hiked: February 16, 2013.) Read the full write-up at:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Good hike for sunset, out from the parking lot and back. The late afternoon light made the rocks and plants glow, and the heat of the day is gone. If you are feeling adventurous, scrambling up to the top is totally worth it!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Great short hike that covers the various different terrains that Joshua Tree National Park is known for. It's gentle enough to bring kids and grandparents, it's satisfying for regular hikers, too.

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