Willow Hole Trail

MODERATE 81 reviews
#13 of 97 trails in

Willow Hole Trail is a 6.8 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.

6.8 miles
246 feet
Out & Back



nature trips

trail running



wild flowers


no dogs

2 months ago

Really enjoyed this trail. Hiked it Memorial Day weekend, which was warm but not crazy hot. It took us about 90 mins to get to the Willow Hole, taking plenty of pictures along the way. So cool to see all the different types of plants in the desert. Enjoyed having the shady area to rest in before heading back. We saw some sort of reptile rustling around in the sand and leaves near the willows. Pretty cool. Also saw a jackrabbit on the way back. The way back was a little quicker since it was warmer and we wanted to get back to the car. Bring plenty of water and protect yourself from the sun.

5 months ago

I really liked this trail. It's very scenic once you get off the Boy Scout Trail. Not a lot of ups and down, but at the end there is plenty of rocks to scale and places to explore. At the end of the trail, if you break left under the willows, there is a natural running stream deep down under the rocks. This area is where we also observed 2 adult and one child Big Horn Sheep.

6 months ago

Very long and flat desert trek with not much variation until the final 1/4. Final destination is underwhelming. Not nearly as interesting or rewarding as other JT hikes.

6 months ago

Well-maintained trail with very little elevation gain (but beware of a lot of sand). Pretty views, especially with a snow-capped San Jac in the distance! Lots of rocks to scramble on along the way as well. Perfect intro to Joshua Tree scenery.

7 months ago

Great scenery. Lots of sand

7 months 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.

7 months ago

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

7 months 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.

7 months 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.

7 months ago

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

7 months ago

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

8 months 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.

9 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.

10 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.

10 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.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

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.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A long walk to heaven

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Easy wide flat and scenic.

Monday, January 23, 2017

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!

Saturday, January 21, 2017


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.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

This is a really great hike. It had some of the best open scenery I'd ever seen. The last part of the hike before the turn around was thru sand which became a bit of a workout. There was a basin with some water, non drinkable, but full of toads who were mating. ot was really awesome site

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

This is an ok hike in the beginning. The wonderland of rocks is very cool to see. The last leg of the hike of the hike is a slog though through sand. I would stop at the end of the wonderland when the ground gets soft and turn around!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

if the weather is cool then an easy hike rather than a moderate if distance not an issue fot you.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Great hike.....

Monday, February 03, 2014

I thought this hike was amazing. You hike the Boy Scout trail through the Joshua tree forest to meet up with the Willow Hole trail. This trail leads you directly into the Wonderland of Rocks. Which is awesome. Once you hit the little water hole (Willow Hole), do some bouldering. This is where most turn around and head back, as I did. Good day hike, do this one!

Friday, December 30, 2011

pretty nice trail. moderate for the most part. there's a slight rock scramble between miles 2 and 3, nothing major. a bit later there's a slight incline but then levels off and is pretty easy til the end. i did this in december so temps were managable, 58 when i started and probably 78 mid hike by willow hole and slightly cooler by the time i arrived back at indian cove. had the trail to myself for the most part. there were one or two trail runners at the beginning. walked passed folks who were camping out at about mile 4. there were quite a few folks at the willow hole end. definitely recommend doing this, at least in the cooler months.

Load More