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Lost Palm Oasis, CA

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Guide 9 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List CA > Inland
4.3 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 7.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,006 feet
Elevation Gain 500 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,150 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5-6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 13.35
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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10  2017-03-15 Jim_H
26  2016-02-07
Joshua Tree NP
8  2015-04-08 rvcarter
44  2012-05-04
Mastadon Peak
14  2012-04-25 gummo
22  2011-05-21 gummo
Author Jim_H
author avatar Guides 55
Routes 44
Photos 7,651
Trips 1,608 map ( 9,661 miles )
Age 40 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
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Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Feb, Apr → 9 AM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:28am - 5:47pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Lost Palm Oasis: Found!
by Jim_H

I'm of the opinion that Palm Oasis are one of the most interesting natural features of inland southern California. Some are hard to get to, like Mortero Palms. Some are very easy to get to, like Mountain Palm Springs, or Borrego Palm Canyon. This one is moderate, as access is paved, but there is a 7 and 1/2 mile round trip hike. However, in an often crowded national park, that hike distance thins the heard and lends itself to some solitude at times of year with the nicest of weather, when in the oasis.

Leaving from Cottonwood Springs, pass through the lovely oasis vegetation of tall palms and cottonwoods. Pass the intersection for the loop to Mastodon Peak, and continue on this lovely trail all the way to the Oasis. Along the way, you'll enjoy fantastic upper Colorado (Sonoran) Desert scenery, views of boulder fields in the Eagle Mountains, and distant desert vistas. You might look back and catch a glimpse of San Gorgonio, but probably not San Jacinto, above some of Joshua Tree National Park's Little San Bernardino Mountains. If in winter or spring of a good year, San Gorgonio will be snow covered. A small portion of this hike follows a sandy wash, but most is on the uplands.

Nearing the end of the trail, a sign indicates your destination below, just before your final descent to the Lost Palm Oasis. Explore the oasis, stay on rock as much as possible to avoid vegetation and soil compaction, and do your best to protect the oasis ecosystem by not damaging plants, water sources, or other features. The trail is marked with mileage signs, and at the end of the oasis, just past the last of the palms, mile marker "4" is on the south slope. Return the way you came, and enjoy!

At the time of this writing, near the lower end of the oasis, a different kind of palm has been seeded in, most likely by human (not me) sources. A true date palm of about 3 or 4 years of age, is currently growing. In time, this may get larger and become an addition to the oasis, or the NPS may correctly choose to remove it as an exotic species. Date palms are dioecious, and are either male or female. This is probably a seed from one of the local Medjol Dater Palm orchards, brought in during someone's lunch, and growing after being left behind. A single date palm, being male or female, will be unable to reproduce in this isolated location. However, it can create a small colony by pupping, or growing side stems from near the ground.

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2017-03-17 Jim_H
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Review
    Lost Palm Oasis
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Joshua Tree NP
    The day started off on the right foot as I jumped onto the 60 and realized I left my hiking clothes in the dryer back at my apartment... Thankfully, I had only made it a few blocks before realizing and turning back.

    After arriving via the South Entrance, I headed for the Lost Palms Oasis TH. It was very windy immediately after I got out of my truck. I changed into my hiking clothes and hit the trail, excited for the day ahead.

    The trail gradually increases in elevation until about a mile before you hit Lost Palms Canyon, where it will drop into and climb out of a small but steep wash. The landscape is littered with large boulders, small joshua trees, some cedars, and a few cholla. The destination of the hike is a narrow canyon which hosts a few dozen fan palm trees. I thought there was also a perennial water source in the canyon, but I was unable to find it.

    After returning to the TH, I went hit up the Cholla Cactus Garden. I circled the loop twice looking for some good photo opportunities. Although short, I think it's well worth the time. The concentration of Cholla in this small area might surprise you. Up until about half a mile from the garden, I kept asking myself "so where's the cholla?"

    Ryan Mountain was my next destination. The trail is short at just 1.5 miles, but it climbs ~1000 ft so some effort is required. The views going up aren't anything to rave about, but at the top you're treated with 360 degree views of the park, along with fair views of San Jacinto and (I think) San Gorgonio, both of which are currently snow capped.

    Next I headed to Keys View. The wind was moving pretty fast at the viewpoint and it pushed me around a little. The sun was directly in my face at this point so the views weren't great, but still good. In hind sight I would probably do Keys View at sunrise for good views of the sun hitting San Jacinto. I decided to drive to my next hike and then return to Keys View for the sunset.

    I headed back down the hill and did the Hidden Valley Nature Loop. The loop is about a mile long but it doesn't disappoint. There are a lot of cool boulder piles and good views inside the small valley. I saw a few climbers enjoying the setting sun atop the rocks.

    After finishing the loop, I booked it back to Keys Views hoping I hadn't missed the best of the sunset. I probably did, but it was still good nonetheless. There was still strong winds pushing me around, so I dropped below the viewpoint and found myself a nice cedar to take shelter behind to watch the sun set behind San Jacinto, and the lights turn on in Palm Springs.

    Permit $$

    Joshua Tree National Park
    7-Day Vehicle Permit: $25 View Fees

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Palm Springs, CA, take I-10 east to exit 168. From Phoenix, AZ, take I-10 west to exit 168 in California. This is the signed exit for Joshua Tree National Park, and is the Box Canyon Rd, or Cottonwood Springs Rd. Drive north on Cottonwood Springs Road towards the Cottonwood Visitor Center. Just before the visitor center, turn east (right) on to Cottonwood Oasis Road. Follow this to it's end, parking and the obvious signed trailhead.
    page created by HAZ_Hikebot on Mar 17 2017 11:54 am
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