Willow Hole Trail

MODERATE 61 reviews
#12 of 83 trails in

Willow Hole Trail is a 6.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Joshua Tree, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

6.9 miles
232 feet
Out & Back



nature trips

trail running



wild flowers


no dogs

13 days ago

Great scenery. Lots of sand

19 days ago

Just completed this hike today. it was a fun hike with different scenery than other trails I've done. Flat trail with very little elevation change. The water at the end was dry, but you can tell that there definitely is water under the soil.

19 days ago

Fun trail. Canyons, open desert, washes. All the desert hiking you could ask for!

20 days ago

Wonderful views of mountains and huge rock structures. Little elevation gain made for an easy hike. +\- 4 hours - we sat at the end of the trail for a few to drink in the view. Majority of the trail is sandy. Would definitely do again.

22 days ago

Mostly flat and a lot more wide open space the first 1/2 than I anticipated. After you turn off the boyscout trail onto willow there was a camper - not sure it was legal for them to camp there. Once you hit the wonderland of rocks it is quite pretty and not crowded so for a holiday weekend I had a great time and beat the crowds because I started around 8:30/9:00.

25 days ago

Beautiful! Great as a first hike to get an impression of the wonders of Joshua Tree.

26 days ago

first two thirds of the trail is awesome. the last third wasn't so much. family had fun though.

1 month ago

This out and back trail is not too strenuous and takes you through an awesome canyon wash. Be prepared to walk in loose sand. If you are out of shape this will challenge you. The approach could be considered boring to some people but for me the Joshua Tree forest and the sweeping views make the beginning just as epic as the canyon. The trail ends at a stand of giant willow trees, which seem to have no business being there. Near the end you enter into a giant wash and if you look to your right there is a few bushed blocking a path to a little boulder cave. It is nice and cool as it is shady and a breeze is channeled through the canyon. It is a great lunch spot. We completed this trail in about 2.5 hours but we stopped and explored a lot. It could be done much faster.

2 months ago

Very Beautiful. The best views are gotten by trudging through the sand. I️ wish I️ had worn shoes with a higher ankle profile.

3 months ago

Great hike. I would definitely do it again. I really enjoyed the hike it starts off in a Joshua Tree forest then ends in a canyon with some amazing rock formations.

3 months ago

did this hike in 2016, was amazing, best part it rained on us while in the desert. No flash floods thankfully, but enough to leave us in wonder.

8 months ago

The first part of this trail was basically the same as the fist half of the Boyscout trail. Mostly desert. A little over half way in, you start seeing more green and trees due to the extra moisture in the area. It really begins to look like an oasis. Unfortunately, from this point onward you are hiking in a wide wash with super deep sand. Not fun with a full backpack and several gallons of water. The end of the trail has a couple of water pools that may either be, or appear to be just mud. But right before you get there, you pass under a few willow trees which are probably the best part of the whole trail. Absolutely beautiful place to stop and have lunch in the cool shade of the rustling willows (if you don't mind sharing the spot with a few passers by since this trail is fairly busy).

You can hike beyond the springs and into rattlesnake canyon if you don't mind scrambling some boulders. If you go far to the left immediately after entering rattlesnake canyon, you'll see the deepest spring, and the one most likely to have actual water in it (looked to be several feet deep when I visited). Beyond that the canyon continues dropping. Very scenic with lots of cactus.

8 months ago

first half was gorgeous but the second half through the sand wash was really unpleasant..
The mud pit at the end did not reward the hard work.. just not worth going further once u hit the sand

10 months ago

A long walk to heaven

11 months ago

Easy wide flat and scenic.

11 months ago

We hiked it two days ago. A Sunny day and due to previous days of rain it was getting greener up and water flowed. it was awesome!

11 months ago


This is my favorite trail in the park ... a beautiful example of biological and geological diversity in a desert environment ... and I want to keep it that way! Fortunately, the trail does not appear on the NPS brochure or magazine, and I hope that will keep traffic to a minimum.

As per the trail map on this website, the Willow Hollow trail splits from the main trail (Boy Scouts) and a sign post provides clear definition at the split. Wait for the sign before you go to the right ... don’t think that some of the other visible trails earlier in the trail lead to Willow Hollow … those actually lead to rock climbing sites.

The sign along the trail provides mileage information, but like some of the other trails in this park, our tracker indicated the posted distance is incorrect. It states that the Willow Hole trail is a 2.25 mile trail, but it was actually about 4 miles from the split to the end of Willow Hole and back to the sign. So 2.25 miles is neither the one-way nor the round-trip distance.

After a rain, water begins to flow downhill into the Willow Hollow gully, and provides the occasional moisture that a wide variety of desert plants and animals need to survive. We’re pretty sure we saw coyote tracks in the sand. Birds abound. It also makes the Hollow somewhat cooler than surrounding areas.

I love this place. STAY AWAY!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Lots of gorgeous views. The trail is clear and well maintained.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I took this trail today the day after a big all day rainstorm that set records in California. The fun thing about this hike was you were actually hiking through a creek for a little less than a half-mile. You get your feet wet no matter what! Nothing scary, I just wish I thought of going barefoot before socks got wet. Beautiful day. If you go all the way through there is a hidden waterfall with a sketchy approach - so I only heard it. You walk through a beautiful valley.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

This hike is everything great that's been written. Many patches of sand along the trail which make the going slower, true, but the scenery's worth. Bring lunch and have it under the dense shade of the willows. High season's hell to park off Park Boulevard so arrive early. Well worth it.

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