Explore the most popular scenic driving 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.

Pretty much what everyone else said, need a high clearance vehicle. I went from North to South in a 4WD Tahoe with street tires and running boards (rental) and had to stack up rocks in several areas to avoid bottoming out. Wife wasn’t stoked, it got a little intense in a few areas. Go slow and use a spotter. Amazing views of the park!!

Great trail. Didn't need the 4 wheel drive. Not very crowded. Only saw a couple vehicles. Great views of rocks and was able to stop at a few and get out and walk around.

Nice path and great sunset viewing

off road driving
1 month ago

Great trail for beginner to intermediate. Drove 2018 Raptor. Started on North entrance (Geology Tour Rd). First half is just dirt road, which has a lot of washboard sections. But then it gets interesting and the Raptor’s capabilities came into play. Nothing that the truck couldn’t handle with ease even if it caused me to sweat. Make sure to take a spotter as wheel placement is key and the trail gets narrow. There are plenty of little side tracks to test out your skills including a few sand hills that are pretty intense.

off road driving
1 month ago

Did this trail in a stock height 2018 Tacoma TRD4x4OR and Chevy Colorado Z71 doing an out and back from Indio. First trip through here, second trail run ever (Meccacopia was the first) and had relatively no problem with it. Being our second trail run ever we spotted way more than was actually necessary to be safe but really there was only 1 area at the end, if you came from Indio, where a spotter felt necessary. With that said, this is a very smooth, sandy, and easy trail except for that one spot... and yes I accidentally ran Paul into a rock, it came out of nowhere! Check out the video for a full video of the trail https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uj3rgDX5W50

off road driving
1 month ago

Good trail run for a little “dirt time.” Pack a sammy and a cold one to enjoy amongst the yucca trees in JT!!

Easy to moderate desert trail connecting Indio Hills to the backside of Joshua Tree National Park. We ran it as an out and back (23 miles) from the Indio Hills end headed North. The beginning of the trail does take you through the BLM designated shooting area, so be aware and not surprised to hear gunshots. Mostly a sandy wash through the desert canyons with sections of rocky hardpack. There are 2 rock gardens to deal with that warrant the moderate portion of the rating, but stock rides with at least 31” tires should be ok with no scrapes! (Unless your spotter steers you into a big ass rock!..thnx T)

Zero trip tick @ Dillon Rd / Berdoo intersection:
1.2 miles- shooters wash
3.8 miles- gate to enter Joshua Tree Park
4.0 miles- 1st rock garden
8.6 miles - 2nd rock garden (narrow canyon)
11.5 miles- stopped for lunch/ photos/ turnaround

on Black Eagle Mine

1 month ago

enjoyed the trip

First off road adventure - novice four wheeler. Entered from Geology Tour Trail. plenty of time to get u sedan to the feel of 4 wheel drive before encountering the "moderate section"

We were in a jeep Wrangler Rubicon. high clearance is definitely recommended. Needed to spot the road ahead twice - mostly because of inexperience. Narrow areas, some rock hopping through the narrow wash down to Dillon Road.
Had a great time

nice views

off road driving
2 months ago

We enjoyed driving this easy trail up to Joshua Tree. most of the drive can be accomplished by a novice driver, but there are a few mildly technical spots which require clearance, attention and some care.

3 months ago

Great easy ride only one spot that is tight with rocks.

off road driving
3 months ago

Be prepared for a very bumpy climb. The trail is misleading. Starting from the south, the first 20 minutes are very easy and flat. It quickly changes as you climb. This trail may have a moderate rating but the climb is pretty intense. I have a Land Rover LR4 with stock wheels and I managed to make it out alive, but I did have a very difficult time in certain areas. The trail has had a lot of erosion so some of the gaps have become very large. DO NOT ATTEMPT WITHOUT A HIGH CLEARANCE VEHICLE. A Subaru Forester in front of me had to turn turn around. Plan to be driving at least 1.5 to 2 hours.

All that said, I had a thrilling and memorable experience on this trail. 5 out of 5.

off road driving
3 months ago

A very easy and pleasant enough way to/from Joshua Tree and Indio (and beyond).
Due to being close to Joshua Tree it's mostly weekend/amateur off-road drivers.

off road driving
3 months ago

I don't get the hard rating as it's a pretty easy drive, you just have to slow down in a couple of spots to maneuver some rocks.
The northern side is a nice place to explore, while the southern exit point is more of a means to an end.

off road driving
3 months ago

Very easy drive to great hiking. There were also several little Jeep trails off of the main trail to add a little off road excitement. We had a great time.

Easy trail out and back via a 4WD in the loop portion. 2WD would be ok if higher clearance vehicle. Family sedan would be too low for some rocky portions. Nice to get away from the crowds!

off road driving
4 months ago

Loved this one too- such interesting plants along the way! Even the rocks change from rounded and HUGE, to craggy and sharp, back to rounded... Started in Indio off Dillion Road and ended up at Pappy & Harriets! We did stop to eat lunch at a pull off near big rounded rocks- be careful of the bees! They were plentiful and very curious.

Geology road tour was in great condition. Some spots had washboard, but nothing terrible. Views were excellent, didn’t manage to grab a map with the description of the markers so we made up our own description. Next time will grab the map. I agree with the previous comments: The signs say 4 wheel drive only, but really it is not needed. Did this in a stock 14 Subaru Forester and had no issues.

Only did 1/3 of it because of sun setting but you for sure need a spotter on a few spots and need legitimate 4x4 and clearance!

Don’t be intimidated by the unpaved road leading to this trail. My Civic did it, no problem! As others have said, beware repeated car break-ins during the week :(
Watch for rocks forming arrows to the path and other clever helpful rock messages! Ladders are mostly safe and all very secure. I saw many families with children, but some struggled on the ladder parts.
Overall, lovely hike with somewhat tricky trail but beautiful and unique views!

off road driving
5 months ago

Driving “up” this trail from I-10 to highway 62 was Extremely challenging in a 2015 Subaru Forester.

Don’t try unless you have skid plates

Fun trail. Clearance is way more important than 4wd. I stayed in 2wd the entire way. Guy following me had a lifted 2wd Silverado rolling 35s and he was fine. I would recommend at least some good tires because its pretty rocky in some sections. Definitely a "Jeep trail". Slow, rocky, and rutted. Once we got down to Old Dale, it opens up and flattens out for some high speed action which is more my style so that was fun. If you're inexperienced and wondering whether to do this trail, I would advise against doing it alone.

off road driving
5 months ago

Great road. Started on the south side going into Joshua Tree. Drove a ‘17 tundra with 3” lift. Most was easy, few spots needed a spotter.

This was a great hike and a nice surprise with the different terrain, slot canyons with ladders and open ridges with beautiful views of the Salton Sea. A relatively easy walk taking under 3 hours. The only drag was we had our rental car broken into when we returned. Nothing was taken as we left nothing in the car. We just had to contend with the broken glass and return it to the rental car agency to replace the vehicle. We were not the only ones. One other cars glass was broken too and there was an attempt on a Mercedes but they couldn’t get through the safety glass. Don’t go during the week when it it quiet as this is when the break in usually occur.

off road driving
6 months ago

Suggest 4x4 and high clearance. Some rock climbing required if you do end to end.

off road driving
6 months ago

Super fun, but know your stuff if you plan to drive this. I personally, did not know much about off-roading, and we were caught on an incline throwing rocks and loosing air in one tire. Thankfully a small adjustment freed us from the rut and after throwing in a spare tire the only road ahead for us was the easy sandy roads of Geology Tour Rd. Personally, I would skip the off-roading and just cruise Geology Tour, make a pit stop to hike Pushwalla. That’s just me though, I’d rather not be stuck in a car.

off road driving
7 months ago

Super fun trail I did it it my Tacoma only one section I needed to use my 4x4

off road driving
7 months ago

So this probably wasn't the trail I should have done in a 70k vehicle, the videos I saw online of this trail all looked pretty easy, I would definitely recommend a vehicle with a lift on it and a short wheel base like a jeep, some spots get pretty hairy, my passenger (aka wife) was less than thrilled with me, so rather than piss her off more I found a spot to turn around at, told me if I wanted to do trails like this to buy a jeep and she would be happy to do it in that so that's what I will do, was doing the trail in a 2015 2500HD crew cab, the truck was perfectly capable of doing it and I was personally having a good time but a shorter wheel base definitely has the advantage on this trail in spots.

Great trail. It was the maiden voyage for my wrangler pretty hairy at spots but tons of fun!

off road driving
8 months ago

We picked up Berdoo Canyon trail from Dillon Rd in Desert Hot Springs. We did this so we would end in JT national park since we were staying in JT. The trail starts out in BLM land with a ton of areas for shooting. So don't forget your guns like we did. Remember shooting is only allow in the BLM area. The entire trail was uphill going this was which in my opinion made it easier to navigate over obstacles. I would definitely recommend a high clearance vehicle. However a full size truck can make this no problem as long as you have the clearance. We did it in a 2016 Ram Rebel and had the suspension set in "Off Road" the entire time. We had only a few close clearance issues but never made contact. Most of the trail there are bypasses around the hard stuff but further up closer to the Nat'l park you had no choice but go thru the boulders. I would highly recommend bringing a lot of water a rescue kit and a comfortable pair of shoes to walk in. Took us about 3 hours to get thru the trail and saw only 1 vehicle till we got to park Blvd. So not a lot of traffic. I'll post a few pictures but the pictures don't really do it justice. The boulders are a lot bigger in person!

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