Explore the best trails near Cantil with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.


off road driving

Cantil, California Map

Ok so this trail needs a real review as the skill level needed for this if driving a vehicle is seriously lacking. If trying to complete this in a 4x4 you will not make it. Part of it is closed to motorized vehicles from mile marker 6-8. The other issue is the amount of soft sand will be a real issue. Make sure you travel with another vehicle this is not a solo route. I would only recommend an OHV for this trail because on the return the route is very narrow with steep inclines that would challenge even a motorbike.

For the hiker this trail is very nice as it gradually increases in elevation gain. At mile 7 the incline rises very quickly and drops quickly presenting lots of PUDs (pointless ups and downs) until the end.

Lastly start this early or late do not attempt from 11-4 as this is a very hot trail with no shade no water. I even recommend 4 liters of water at a minimum.

I got off the trail early due to an injury.

1 month ago

Showed up at 5PM on a Friday (31MAR) and there were plenty of camping spots. The rangers use the "faith" system when paying for camping - there's a drop box for fees at the entrance. The camp site was quiet and the stars were so bright that I could see my shadow at night.

3 months ago

Beautiful and desolate. Bring a map--it's easy to wander off trail by following the wash or other lost hikers attempting to find the tunnel. Trail branches off into several other trails in a dozen places. There are now fences and signs blocking this trail in some parts. Flat in the beginning, but there's some pretty consistent hills and valleys on the way back. Once we found the way back, trail was clearly marked.

The tunnel was pretty cool--amazing how one person with limited tools accomplished all that. A lot of people rode ATVs or 4WDs to the tunnel, so it got a little crowded there.

Don't go Feb to July. They have it blocked off for Bird Nesting

on Red Cliffs Trail

3 months ago


4 months ago

Great little hike. I started by heading south on the trail. at the southern point you have a great little vista view looking right at the main formations as you drive in. At the north point of the trail you will find several groupings of Joshua Trees. Form this side you can also walk up the back of the formations should you wish.

We loved this trail! It was very hot and dry since it's the desert and the summer, however the formations and the views were incredible. There was only one other couple hiking the day we went and they were leaving just as we showed up which made for a relaxing and private hike to enjoy it all. It is dog friendly, which is awesome (yay!) however it is hot dry and hard on the feet with zero shade so it may not be for every dog, and for people and dogs alike bring plenty of water and energy drinks.

Beautiful but hot. It is the desert I guess after all.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Fun tunnel but a bit too short. Hit my head and fell a few times as I'm a tall guy. The view at the end when you exit is truly amazing. Probably best to come here with an ATV or OHV.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

walked around a bit and explored and sat around for the sunrise, was really beautiful

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

Yesterday morning, 01/09/2016 I decided to hike Red Rock Canyon State Park on the west side of SR14. I was the lone hike out there, visitor's centered closed but numerous campers and motor crossers. The hike to Whistler's Ridge and Peak was cool, easy and the terrain felt like hiking on foam after the El Nino rain weather. After hiking the Whistler's Ridge, I hiked to the middle top of Canyon Ridge which was cool but scary. I back tracked and veered to the left towards to bottom of the canyon and hike along the canyon floor to very west side of the canyon. Cool hike. I expect this place to be full of hikers, come spring and fall.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Short but sweet. You leave the loop drive of Ricardo Campground from its south end, climb along the ridge and, when in doubt, just keep going uphill. Quite steep near the top, but with spectacular views of the tilted layers that make up this part of the park. Bring water and a camera. On the way back down, you can drop into the upper part of Hagen Canyon to the south, and explore a landscape of badlands, hoodoos and castellation. Be careful if you head downstream in Hagen Canyon, though. There's a 50' dry waterfall at the bottom of a neat waterslide, and you wouldn't want to miss your turnaround point and keep on going over the edge!

on Ricardo Campground

Friday, September 18, 2015

For being right off of a major highway, this campground is pretty darned quiet. Classic desert state park campground, with vault toilets and water spigots here and there. Fires are permitted in fire rings, and there are some pull-through spots for RVs. Not much shade, unless you back up against a cliff, but there's plenty of scenic appeal, hiking trails, and a nearby OHV recreation area. There's a trail from the south end of the loop drive that goes up to the ridge top, with a nice view. You can also head down from a fork in the trail to explore Hagen Canyon, with its colorful displays of red sand-castles and hoodoos. Across the highway is the beautiful Scenic Cliffs area, and a mile further up a dirt road is Nightmare Gulch, all picturesque desert locations which you might recognize from some of the many movies that were filmed here.