Best Trails CA: Joshua Tree

• 6 day hikes
• 1.0 to 7.1 mile trails
• Easy & Medium difficulties
• Twentynine Palms, CA | Joshua Tree National Park
• Driving Directions: Visitor Center

Joshua Tree on a blue sky background

Joshua Tree National Park is a unique landscape of wide arid desert and striking rock formations, home to the famous Joshua tree among many other desert flora. Though a very popular destination, you can still find your own peace of solitude here. If you're lucky you may even spot desert bighorn sheep, particularly on the cusp of daylight.

Only a couple of hours inland from the Los Angeles Basin along Interstate 10, the park is popular with daytrippers and multi-day backpackers alike. If you're looking for hotels in the area we recommend Palm Springs, which with its modernist architecture is a destination in its own right.

Summarized below our map are the best day hikes in Joshua Tree National Park. Follow the links to our trail reviews to learn more, and to find free maps that you can download to your phone for easy navigation.

Wall Street Mill Wall Street Mill | 5★, 2.4mi, Easy, 100ft | The best short trail and is highly representative of the park. Very popular, so arrive early if possible. Shares trailhead with Barker Dam nature trail.
See trail review.
Lost Horse Mine Lost Horse Mine | 5★, 4.1-7.1mi, Medium, 550-1090ft | One of the best preserved mills on National Park property. Excellent views from the top of the hill. The shorter out-and back route is best, but there are joshua trees on the longer looping trail.
See trail review.
Split Rock Loop Split Rock Loop | 5★, 2.0mi, Easy, 260ft | Sublime two-mile looping tour of otherworldly weathered stone landscape made even better at dawn or dusk. Quieter and possibly better than the neighboring roadside skull rock & jumbo rocks.
See trail review.
Skull Rock Nature Trail Skull Rock Nature Trail | 4★, 1.7mi, Easy, 140ft | Pleasant and mostly flat trail that provides a scenic park overlook as well as a trip to the extremely popular Skull Rock.
See trail review.
Ryan mountain hikers on the trail Ryan Mountain | 4★, 3.0mi, Medium, 1070ft | Hike up one of the most prominent mountains in the park for the excellent view views. Especially hard on the knees though.
See trail review.
Barker dam nature trail Barker Dam Nature Trail | 4★, 1.3mi, Easy, 70ft | Easy trail featuring typical joshua tree park landscapes, historic features, great interpretive nature signs and even ancient petroglyphs.
See trail review.
Hidden Valley Joshua Tree Hidden Valley | 3★, 1.0mi, Easy, 110ft | Sample the best of the park on this shortest of trails in the heart of the park. Encirled by rock on all sides, cattle rustlers used to hide their bovine hoards in here.
See trail review.

   ALL   CA   NH   HI   SW   3★  4★  5★ 

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