Short Joshua Tree Hikes
- Cholla Cactus Garden Trail. Take this 0.25-mile loop through an area of fuzzy-looking cholla cactus plants. Watch out for their prickles.
- Keys View Trail. This is a 0.25-mile walk to an overlook where you can see the mountains, San Andreas Fault, and the Salton Sea.
- Cap Rock Trail. See the boulders and Joshua trees the park is known for on this half-mile trail. It's wheelchair accessible, but there is a slight elevation gain on this trail.
- Oasis of Mara Trail. This is a half-mile paved loop at the park's Oasis Visitor Center near Twentynine Palms, and the only trail that allows pets. (Pets must be on a leash.) The trail is a simple walk through an area that was an important oasis to natives and settlers.
- Hidden Valley Trail. See more of Joshua Tree's rock formations on this popular 1-mile loop near a picnic area.
- High-View Trail. For a more challenging short hike that will have you gaining elevation, hike this steep 1.3-mile loop through a Joshua tree forest.
- Skull Rock Trail. Many park visitors come to see the boulders here, especially one that looks like a skull. This 1.7-mile loop trail takes you there, past large rock formations.
Longer Joshua Tree Hikes
- Split Rock Loop Trail. Hike 2.5 miles to see unique rock formations, including Face Rock. The loop is near a picnic area.
- Mastodon Peak Trail. In the southern part of the park, visit the Cottonwood Springs Visitor Center and this nearby trail. The 3-mile loop takes you past boulders and an old gold mine.
- Ryan Mountain Trail. Hike up to the 5,470-foot Ryan Mountain summit for beautiful views on this 3-mile trail. You'll ascend 1,000 feet on this trail, which is probably the most popular in the park. However, rangers advise against hiking this trail during the summer because of the heat.
- Pine City Trail. Take this 4-mile trail to see a variety of desert plant life. It's near Skull Rock Trail, so you could do both if you're feeling adventurous.
There are several more trails in Joshua Tree, including overnight backpacking routes, but these trails show you the different ways you can start exploring the park.
Most Joshua Tree visitors agree that you don't need hiking boots for day hikes, but sturdy athletic shoes should be fine. Before setting out on a trail, make sure you have water and sun protection. Dress in layers of clothing, and remove the outer layers as needed during your hike. And definitely skip longer hikes on hot days.
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