register help

Mastadon Peak, CA

44 5 0
Guide 5 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List CA > Inland
4 of 5 by 2
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 2.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,016 feet
Elevation Gain 370 feet
Accumulated Gain 370 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.35
Interest Historic & Peak
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
22  2017-10-31
Joshua Tree NP
44  2012-05-04 rwstorm
Author rally_toad
author avatar Guides 21
Routes 4
Photos 512
Trips 418 map ( 2,555 miles )
Age 28 Male Gender
Location Boulder City, NV
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Mar, Nov, Feb, Apr → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:26am - 5:51pm
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Climb the elephant
by rally_toad

Mastadon Peak is a short loop in Joshua Tree National Park. One of the most beautiful and stunning Parks in the NPS in my opinion. The fact that Joshua Tree is not visited by the crowds seen at the Grand Canyon, or Yellowstone adds to the experience. One beautiful park, plus minimal visitors equals a great place to be.

That being said, Mastadon Peak is a popular hike, and if its solitude you seek, find another place in Joshua Tree's almost 800,000 acres. However, despite it being relatively crowded, it is a must for both the expert hiker and the novice who finds themselves at this part of the park. It can be accessed from Cottonwood Springs trailhead, as well as Cottonwood campground. The loop is described in a counter-clockwise direction.

From Cottonwood Springs trailhead walk down the steps to Cottonwood Springs, a major attraction in Joshua Tree. There is some water here and towering palm trees. This is a favorite place for birders. Continue on the trail, which at this point is the same trail that leads to Lost Palms oasis(another gem). The trail is wide and easy to follow, and all sorts of Desert vegetation can be observed here. Ocotillos, and Yucca seemed to be especially prevalent. However, there are no Joshua Trees in this part of the park, they are found in the higher Mojave Desert to the north.

After .7 miles you will find yourself at a signed junction, take a left following the signs for Mastadon Peak. The trail starts to gradually climb, though it won't be much trouble in less you aren't in good shape. You will be able to see the peak for the first time. It is a beautiful although small peak, and it is easy to see how it got its name. It does resemble a Mastadon, or some sort of giant elephant. In a few minutes you will come to the short spur trail to the top of the peak. Take a right and head up it, this is the steepest part of the hike, and you might use your hands in some places. After 5 minutes or less you will find yourself on top of Mastadon Peak. The views are great, especially considering this peak is not very high, one can see mountains and flatlands, and the Salton Sea. Head down and take a right at the main trail. You will soon come to the Mastadon Mine, closed up, there is a sign with historical information about the mine. Continue on the trail which at this point will go in and out of washes, but is still very easy to follow because of the signs and arrows along the way. This was my favorite part of the trail, hiking through smooth sandy washes all alone right before sunset. You will come to the remains of the Winona Mill in a short time. From here, head down the trail a short ways to the trailhead.

Since you are in Joshua Tree take your time and enjoy the other places the park has to offer. 800,000 acres of pure beauty.

Check out the Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2009-02-26 rally_toad
    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 Reviews
    Mastadon Peak
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Headed up to Joshua Tree with a friend for a fun weekend exploring. We car camped two nights in the Cottonwood Campground and did a variety of hikes over the weekend and then I headed back to Phoenix Sunday afternoon.

    Mastodon Peak Loop – Made a quick loop on Friday afternoon during sunset. There are remains of an old mine and a use trail that wraps around to the top of Mastodon Peak. Nice views up there!

    Ryan Mountain – Started off with Ryan on Saturday morning. The trail is in great condition and makes a healthy climb over the course of 1.5 miles. The summit is marked by a massive rock cairn. The views would have been nice if not for the extremely poor air quality.

    Barker Dam Loop – After Ryan, we headed over to the Barker Dam area and spent some time exploring the area and searching for glyphs. We had mixed results by finding some and not others. There is one set of glyphs, marked on the topo map, that have been touched up with paint. There was a light rain for about an hour.

    Hidden Valley – Made the quick Hidden Valley loop in the afternoon. This is a really nice area that is very popular with rock climbers and day hikers. Very scenic and nice hiking.

    Key Views – We ended our Saturday at Key Views where we hiked a short way up a use trail to the west and enjoyed the sunset. It’s a wonderful view of Palm Springs and San Jacinto but the air quality is disgusting! From there we returned to Cottonwood and settled in for the evening.

    Split Rock Loop / Skull Rock – On Sunday morning we drove back into the heart of the park and did a short loop hike by Split Rock / Skull Rock. Fairly nice area.

    Arch Rock – Short hike and exploration by Arch Rock

    Cholla Garden – We ended on the Cholla Garden Nature Walk.
    Mastadon Peak
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Joshua Tree NP
    Headed out to Joshua Tree for 4 days of camping and hiking. We didn't get a real early start, so we were very lucky to find an available spot in Ryan Campground, our second choice. Not a fan of campgrounds, but they can be a necessary evil. Ryan is centrally located and our little spot backed up to some nice granite. Apparently half our neighbors were there to mostly be loud. Of the other half, we were pleasantly surprised to meet a young couple from Switzerland who are doing a few years exploring North America in their iconic 2002 Land Rover Defender. I love Land Rover's unofficial motto - "making mechanics out of drivers since 1948."

    We tackled Ryan Mountain first to get a nice view of the area. Drove part of Geology Road which isn't all that interesting when you don't have the accompanying guide for what's significant at each of the sign posts. The guides are not available at the large metal box at the start of the road marked "Guides", only at the visitor centers miles and miles away. Did have fun exploring Squaw Tank, a small dam with some good rocks to scramble on nearby. Desert Queen Mine, Wall Street Stamp Mill and the Barker Dam provided a look back into the history of the area. Stopped by Skull Rock for a belated Halloween celebration and some more rock scrambling fun.

    Ryan Ranch was very close to our campground so we strolled out to explore our second morning. Interesting place. Willow Hole is hike not listed on HAZ. We saw it on a park brochure and thought the name was worth exploring. It is a 7 plus mile round trip through sand to several willow trees in some damp earth. Took the opportunity to drive north and hike to 49 Palms. Yes, we counted them and there were 3 palms too many. MJ corrected the error and they are back to 49. Coyote Corner offers gifts, souvenirs, and 7.5 minute showers for only $4 per token. Highly recommended!

    Keys View is a nice drive and a small walk. Gives a great view of the San Andreas Fault below, which of course isn't mentioned on the informational signs at the view point. We took a side dirt road on a whim and found a trailhead for Lost Horse Mine. We opted for the entire loop. The mine had a 10 stamp mill and operated for a long time. Water was pumped the 3.5 miles from Ryan Ranch to support the mine and mill. The southern half of the loop offers nice views and some other mine ruins. White bursage was blooming and when you brush against it or crush some in your hands it smelled like lemons. We explored around the Hidden Valley area and watched some friendly climbers at work for a bit.

    The drive out took us past Cottonwood Campground and the Mastadon Peak and Mine Loop. The scramble to the top of Mastadon was short but fun with a chuckwalla lamenting our intrusion into his morning sunning routine.

    We stopped off at the General Patton and Desert Training Center Museum at Chiricao Summit. The US Army trained in southern CA and southwestern AZ before embarking to North Africa to confront Hitler and Rommel in the Sahara, our entry into WW-II. The training was vital in learning to cope with desert conditions. The outline of the road network from the many camp towns established as part of the Desert Training Center are still visible when you fly over the area. The museum has an impressive collection of artifacts from the period.

    Permit $$

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

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Phoenix take the I-10 west to Joshua Tree southern entrance (4 hours). Turn onto the park road and continue to the Cottonwood Visitor Center, turn right at the visitor center and continue to the end of the road at the Cottonwood Springs trailhead.
    page created by rally_toad on Feb 26 2009 6:58 pm
    help comment issue

    end of page marker