Explore the most popular no dogs trails near Desert Center with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

7 days ago

Really fun hike and hot! Went on Saturday and temps reached 104° I froze my water bottles the night before and had cold water the entire hike as the ice was melting. theres an arrow at the beginning of the trail that veers you left. avoid that trail unless you want to climb ropes so I headed back and started over this time going straight until I saw the second arrow pointing sharp left that's where the ladders are at after you climb some boulders. Thank you Jennifer Murphy your review was really helpful. I ignored the white arrow with the (?)
and ignored the ladder to my right. went straight ahead and stayed on track.

off road driving
8 days ago

My first moderate trial in my Jeep Renegade Trailhawk all stock. Driving from south to north was beautiful but barely required the 4x4. The carved out sandy roads were a breeze and as it changed to bumpy rocks we were slowed down a bit but there was a stretch of extremely sharp rocks and sheer cliffs I did not feel comfortable attempting. I watched a Rubicon struggle and scrape the heck out of their under carriage so I promptly turned around only to scrape mine in doing so. My moderate ground clearance did not seem to be enough to tackle this last bit before the 62. Otherwise the drive before and back was very serene.

Always a fun drive. It's our short cut into Joshua Tree. Get the annual pass it's like $60 and gets you access to all of the national parks. The main drive is really easy, there is one spot where you need to take your time, and one spot where it's really rocky for like 3/4 of a mile. The rest is dirt or sand. There are a few side trails that are fun and challenging.

Basically a fire road. Really easy drive to hiking area. Was washed out pretty good when we went 9/27/17. But took it in 2 wheel drive the whole way. Plenty of cars made it through, even an E Class Mercedes sedan. Cars and lower trucks just be careful to drive around the bigger rocks. On the way out saw a large flat rock with a scrape across the top and transmission fluid dripping off of it, again was washed out from rain 2 days prior. Most if the time the road looks like it is graded and pretty smooth.

Overall this was a beautiful hike, and extra fun with the ladder element. Amazing views of the mountains, sky, and you can also see the Salton Sea. We started around 9 am which was later than planned, but made it out around 12:15 so wasn’t too bad. I would definitely recommend a hat and long sleeves for when you’re exposed on the upper ridge in the summer. On the first half mile and intermittently throughout the last two miles there is shade. There are white painted arrows on the canyon walls and rock-shaped arrows on the ground to help guide you. There’s one difficult part where you see “Up (?)” in white paint. We took the path first, but it looked like we were off of the trail so we walked back and went up the ladder disregarding the question mark. The gravel was quite loose, but we made it to the top. However, then it said we were on the ridge and also not on the trail. Once we were up there was no going back down that way. We took a left based on the map’s guidance and eventually it converged back into the correct trail so we were fine, just in the open sun much longer. Bring plenty of water!

19 days ago

Could not hike entire trail due to a closure, so hiked a loop (made via another trail) back to parking lot. Fantastic hike, beautiful vegetation.

off road driving
22 days ago

First off I would like to start off by saying this is not an easy trail. I rate this moderate. I did this trail in a stock TRD off road 2017 4Runner. This trail starts off pretty easy. However, it does get pretty tight and rough the closer you get to the mountains. In places I was in 4low with the rear locked. You are able to get around the boulder. The only issue is I had inches to spare from my rearend sliding down in to it. Overall, the trail is packed with amazing views and some really good places to test your vehicle.

Did this trail back in 2004. Must have a compass and a good map to find your way. Route finding skills are essential as is plenty of water. Hiked all the way to mountain and then camped at the base for the night. Packed out the next morning. GREAT views at the top of Monument Mountain.

very pretty wish we had camped

lovely trail we did it in December

off road driving
1 month ago

We did this road from the national Park entry, the first part is really sandy. You definitely need to lower the tires pressure and have wide wheels as well as permanent 4x4 with lower gears and equipment to get your truck out of the sand in case.
After the sand, around 10 miles in, the road start narrowing and climbs, a “normal” 4x4 won’t probably make it and there really fewer turning points to turn around.
You need to drive through a lot of sharp rocks on the street, deep cuts and pretty intense obstacles to overcome driving up the mountain (better with differential blocks) .
Your tire pressure at this point need to be lowered or you won’t probably make it and be prepared to pop a tire and mount a spare tire on your way.
You won’t have network, and there are many minor side ways that can get you lost if you got stuck there and be prepared to walk in hard conditions, consider at least 1 gallon of water in case things go wrong, power battery for the map on the phone, and a knife for possible bobcats who might chase you (suggestion if you break down is to walk at sunset-night for avoiding the heat), flashlight and analog compass.
We popped the rear tire and we forgot the jack for the spare, a mistake that could have driven to a miserable death if we were not lucky enough to have water, equipment and know how to hike in the desert.
We walked 17 miles to get out on the 62 and get network, took us 6 hours hiking in with others two people we rescued on the street who got stuck in the sand, it was not possible to tow them out as their little suv 2wd was heavily stuck.

Here are our specs:
-Land Rover Range Rover 4.0 P38, 3 inch lift , 265/65 , wrangler duratrac tires

Here are our suggestions:
-don’t do this road if you are not experienced with desert, rocks and driving up in narrow, steep mountain off road tracks.
-be prepared with spare wheel and gear yourself up
-be prepared if your transmission break down or you hit a rock with and your wheel nut is gone
-have good breaks and low gears up/down, lockers preferred but not necessary if you know what you are doing
-this road is definitely not moderate, some passages who are hard and require rock crawling experience
-drive slowly on the rocks

A part of this is a fun road, good views and pretty scenic different grounds.

The actual "pine city" part of this trail is not indicated on the trail itself so you will most likely overshoot it. The trail is, as mentioned above, longer than posted, but not that hard. (Closer to 2 miles each way). Overall nice but I wish we could have found the old mineshafts. Great trail for plant life. A lot of low lying colorful plants. (August)

1 month ago

interesting walk. We stayed at the Ryan campground so it was a very short way walk to the ranch. the remains were great for pictures.

Such a unique place. Challenging but fun hike, we went late morning. It was about 101 when we set out and before we hit the half way point we turned around because of the temps. Back at the car it was 107 and even though we had plenty of water, there were parts of the trail without any shade and we were starting to overheat. Aside from that we really enjoyed this spot and will make a return trip very soon and head out early for sunrise. The mountains and rock formations are amazing here and you’ll have plenty of photo ops in the canyons. Pack out what you pack in... dirt road is a bear coming down Painted Canyon Rd. Be ready for some major vibrations for about 5 miles of unpaved road. Best done in a truck, your pretty luxury car will cry coming here.

Nice views, but after taking in Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Channel Island NPs during the same week, this was not that memorable.

The Vista Trail was very easy & very short, 1.25m of pretty flat hike with little immediate scenery, and then BAM! you get to the vista and wow, you're looking across miles and miles of gorgeousness. Did this hike based on the distance & the glowing words of the reviewer below me, and took the wash loop back. This was both a blessing & a curse (no fault of the reviewer). Dropping into the ruggedness of the S. end of the wash was incredible, after having so little to see on most of the vista trail. But after getting out of the rugged portion into the wash it was less enchanting. It was a v. hot day, and in the wash there was little breeze. The last 1/3 of the wash is all loose sand and slightly inclined, so it was a pretty wretched hot dry when-is-this-going-to-end slog. Other than the sand part, which was more tiring than expected, there is nothing difficult about this hike, it's a terrific off-the-beaten-path gem and I absolutely plan to go back. I think starting from Queen Canyon Mine might be the key, if heat is a factor.

Nice little hike with a bit of history. Mill and abandoned vehicles are pretty cool to see.
Didn't see anyone on this trail (we went there on July 21st at noon, that's probably why!)

2 months ago

A short walk that can be done no matter how hot it is, which does come in handy in summer. Pretty rock formations around and we saw a rather impressive chuckawalla lizard.

Was a great hike yesterday here. Definitely a hidden treasure to admire close to the Imperial Valley. Take plenty of water, gloves, hiking light shoes with good traction, sun block, snacks and a beer or two to enjoy up on the canyon. I guess i learned yesterday that the north trail is called The Ropes, and the east trail is ladder Canyon trail. I recommend to go east trail and follow rock arrow into hidden canyon. You can go the other way also, half way there is a hill that will be safer to go down than up for some. I'm going back for sure; Enjoy and stay safe!!

2 months ago

This hike offers a great desert experience, just know that there are no Joshua Trees in this part of the park. That said, the hike has some beautiful views of the desert as well as an enjoyable (if small) oasis at the end. We did the hike in early June and knowing that the temperatures would easily get to 110+, we aimed to start as early as possible. In the end, we only managed to hit the trail at around 7am but got back to the car comfortably just before noon even with a detour to the Mastodon Mine.
There is a sign posted close to the trail-head, which warns people that hiking out into the desert could be life-threatening this time of the year, and without bringing enough water, that is very true. We carried almost a gallon each and drank most of it by the time we got back, so if you're planning on doing this hike in summer, make sure you are well prepared and start early in the morning - there is no shadow or water anywhere along the trail. The trail itself is fairly level for most part with only a short, steep descent/ascent to/from the canyon with the palms but, in summer, the heat does make this a fairly strenuous endeavor. Overall, I would definitely recommend the hike, just know your limits and don't even think about doing it in summer without bringing lots of water!
As for wildlife, we saw plenty of rabbits, some antelope squirrels, a kingsnake, and a bunch of reptiles.

This is a great hike, but as others have said, it isn't marked at all. We relied on information from other hikers and Alltrails to figure out where to go. The ladder and ropes are fun and the hike is mostly pretty. The upper loop to the top of the big canyon is completely exposed. We got an incredibly late start, so this part baked me, but the canyon was worth it. As a bonus, we saw a little gray fox. The road in was rough, but ok for a regular car.

It is a short and very easy trail. It does have some very interesting and beautiful rock formations. Great for taking pictures. The information signs are very informative and interesting.

2 months ago

Lots of fun you can take a different route right as you get out of the wash it was intense but it linked us right back on to old dale rd

Definitely coming back to this hike, lots of trails to explore.

I would recommend coming early to avoid high temperatures (it reached 112 when we went last week) and bring plenty of water.

2 months ago

The Grottos can easily be gone through without a rope or climbing gear. You will need a light unless you are up for groping your way through in the dark. If you don't see an opening look to the left or right side, there is a rope in one place if I remember right. One passage is very narrow and a bit of a scramble but not difficult.

3 months ago

This trail was awesome even this late in the season. I hit the trail early and was back at my car by 1145. The trail rating is moderate is correct in my opinion. There are sections of climbing/bouldering at the canyon entrance and exit. You are also exposed for most of the trail with no water and very limited shade until you reach the oasis. Pictures don’t do this place justice. It was beautiful. I did submit a recording. It accidentally paused it for .7 if a mile. I also didn’t make the full loop the end of the trail so you’re looking at 7.5 miles easy round trip. Be prepared for heat, have water and enjoy! As an experienced hiker this trail was not a waste of time. Not as challenging as some, but there is more to a hike that elevation gain etc.. absolutely beautiful and highly recommend.

Love this app

Love this hike. Gorgeous views. The parking is on a dirt road off the main road so if you don’t have 4 wheel drive just be aware (I have a corolla and drove very carefully).. Decent uphill work out. I have actually been inside the mine (there was a hole in the fence and couldn’t help myself). If you search carefully enough inside you will find a treasure. Graffiti from someone who was in a very famous band who passed away (I don’t want to say- you will have to look for yourself. It is on the ledge above the stairs). I felt reluctant to say anything because I don’t want anyone to be disrespectful to the mine or get hurt. But it is truly a treasure to see. !ALSO WANTED TO NOTE that while walking off the trail up to the mine, my friend walked close enough to a *RATTLESNAKE* to cause it to rattle. It was 5-6 feet long. So just be aware that they are up there. !

3 months ago

Beautiful hike! Can’t wait to bring my kids on this one!

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