Explore the most popular trail running 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.

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)

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.

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!)

hiking
1 month 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!!

hiking
1 month 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.

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.

hiking
2 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. !

2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

Loved this hike! I did it twice it was so much fun and full of little trails to explore. A must do when you visit the area!

Great hike. Beautiful vistas. I’d avoid it during peak heat hours, but still very doable with good supply of water. Probably insane during the golden Hour for photos.

Except for the very end, I never got bored! This was a great hike. Very few people and amazing views. There were definitely bees, but they don’t bother you if you do t bother them!

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike took my 3 boys 7yr old 10yr old and 11 yr old and they all loved it we went at about 6pm when it was not as hot and it was great

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing area! My only complaint: this is the most poorly marked trail that I have ever been on. Do your research so you know where to go. There are several trails at the top and a lot of them are dead ends. Otherwise, great day of hiking and exploring with my husband and 7 year old. Bring more water than you think you need!!!

Really pretty hike! There are a couple steep parts but it’s really not that bad. Well worth the views and pretty wildflowers. Also true what someone else wrote about the bees, they sure like to hang around you so be careful.

Maybe it's because that was one of the last hike of the day, but I found it a little dull.

Maybe I missed what was special about this, but I would personnally skip it. It's not very different then other small hike in the area. Of course if you are camping there, why not?

hiking
3 months ago

Nice morning stroll if you are camping in cottonwood camping. Took about 3 hours, including going a bit deeper once I reached the palm trees. It's nice, and getting to oasis spring is special, it feels like you just arrived somewhere totally different with these big trees.

hiking
3 months ago

It's a short trail but maybe the most interesting one.

hiking
3 months ago

Actually I didn't find this rock like a cap. Not as interesting as many other rooks in this park. However, it's luck that we saw some people climbing the rock beside the trail. They are great!

hiking
3 months ago

Easy hike to neat forgotten vehicles and mill

Nice path and great sunset viewing

Loving his trail? A great lookout from the mine and further on at about the halfway point. Some challenges with the elevation to keep it interesting, slow and steady the way up. Nice, flat finish - would do again.

Great rock formations, lots of lookouts, and some different path compositions through the trail.

In answer to Charlie Nunez’s question: yes you can get to the trailhead in a regular car. It is a bumpy five miles and you could drive faster in a truck or 4x4, but my Honda sedan made it and there were several similar cars on the road or in the lot, including a Mini. Take it slow and it is fine.

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