Barker Dam Nature Trail, Joshua Tree CA


• 4-star hike
• 1.3 mile loop
• Easy difficulty | Gain 66 feet
• Southern California | Joshua Tree National Park
• Driving Directions: Trailhead



This is a great easy introductory Joshua Tree trail, best paired with the neighboring Wall Street Mill trail. Most of the trail is on solid sandy ground, though there are some short areas of rock scrambling that are unlikely to be a significant obstacle to most people.

Follow the trail into and winding through the iconic weathered Joshua Tree rocks and vegetation to reach the low-lying ground and historic Barker Dam used to provide water for nearby mining operations.

Though you could return the way you came, we recommend continuing on a short loop, where you’ll find a more varied landscape and the continuation of possibly the best group of interpretive signs in the park. One of our favorite signs points out the diminutive cheesebush - smell it to figure out why it is so named.

Don’t miss the ancient petroglyphs on the South West corner of our loop - you’ll have to proceed a little further than the ‘Y’ junction to find it, but it shouldn’t be too difficult since it is also marked by an interpretive sign.


Barker dam, mostly devoid of water.


Be sure to read the great interpretative signs on this nature trail.

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Barker Dam Nature Trail | 4★ | 1.3mi | Easy | 66ft | AllTrails

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