Mastodon Peak Loop Trail

EASY 91 reviews
#11 of 97 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
357 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).

rock climbing
3 months ago

This was one fun trail with family. Multiple peaks overlooking Salton sea and 360 degrees breath taking views. Passing the mine and walking counterclockwise in the loop through the wash back to the parking lot.
I would say an hour and a half hike (walking time).

4 months ago

we only had one afternoon to check out this park as we were staying with family while on vacation in palms springs. Great views and some interesting old mining memorabilia and debris. Very cool hike. wish we had the time to hike to the oasis. Not shaded so wear sun screen, and bring covering: hat, lightweight long sleeve, etc.

4 months ago

I did this as part of the Lost Palms Oasis hike and would definitely recommend doing the two of these together, as they offer some great views of the southern side of the park and the environment beyond. The path up to the very top of the peak is just a bunch of boulders that need to be scrambled over, but it isn’t very challenging and is very much worth it. The view from the top is absolutely amazing.

5 months ago

Great views. It was super sunny and we all got sunburnt on our hike. Easy to do with kids.

5 months ago

We took the first half of this loop on our way to Lost Palms Oasis. I thought this section was the best views as it's a nice climb up and down.

5 months ago

I added the Mastodon Peak Loop as Part of the hike to lost Palm Oasis. The Vista from the peak is spectacular.

6 months 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.

6 months 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.

6 months ago

Fun little nature trail

7 months ago

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

8 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.

9 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.

10 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.

11 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.

11 months ago

Nice place to go without the crowds.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

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.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

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

Monday, June 12, 2017

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.

Monday, July 02, 2012

The trail to Mastodon Peak is a three mile round trip. Zebra-tailed lizards, basking in the warming sun, would carefully gauge when they thought we were too close and then skitter away. The trail started to climb; in some places steps had been carved in the rock. When we stopped to rest we would survey the expanding vista, with snag-toothed mountain peaks back dropped by mildly hazy (yes, air pollution from LA two hours to the west) skies.
Plants painted the landscape with a full palate. Ocotilo bushes, whose branches resemble calamari tentacles thrusting from the ground, were covered in tiny green leaves, with bright red flowers crowning the branches. Orange Chuparosas contrasted with pale orange Desert primroses. Chubby squat cacti covered in pink spines put the last brushstroke on the landscape.
Off the trail a Whitetail Antelope Squirrel dashed back and forth looking for seeds, its tail held over its back like a parasol. As we sipped water from our bottles I reflected on how he didnt need to drink a drop of water in his life, getting all his moisture from his food.
The last climb to the top of Mastodon Peak was a scramble, bracing our feet and hands on boulders and pulling ourselves up bit by bit. At the top it was like floating over the desert, with wide views of the surrounding mountains and the Creosote speckled desert floor spread out below.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Great hike very easy well marked had a wonderful afternoon. Saw a desert turtle, coyote, rattle snake and many diuferent lizzards. Loved the rock formations and great views

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It is a very beautiful hike if you enjoy National Parks and the Desert. I would definatly hike this again if I go to Joshua Tree National Park again.

Monday, May 31, 2010

This trail was great because it can be for either the beginner or the expert hiker depending on the paths you choose. You can do a lot of awesome bouldering too if that is was you're into, though it's not necessary to make it to the peak. There are a lot of informative plaques along the way to educate you on the plant and wildlife. Be careful of African Bees though! A swarm flew over our was amazing, but scary. If you don't bother them though, they won't bother you.

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