Discovery Trail Skull Rock Loop, CA • Hike
for free!
 This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Preferred" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Discovery Trail Skull Rock Loop, CA

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Difficulty 1 of 5
Distance Loop 1.81 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,423 feet
Elevation Gain -100 feet
Accumulated Gain 190 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 2.76
 Backpack No
unreported if dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
Post the 1st photoset!
author avatar Guides 18
Routes 165
Photos 265
Trips 145 map ( 755 miles )
Age 33 Male Gender
Location Tempe
Associated Areas
list map done
Inland Region
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar Map
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Preferred Feb, Mar, Oct, Nov → 10 AM
Seasons   Spring
Sun  6:14am - 5:40pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

Alternative route to see skull rock
by KingLeonidas

 Likely In-Season!
Discovery Tail Skull Rock Loop is a short nature trail that provides access to Skull Rock. The immediate parking area around Skull Rock is often crowded or full and this short nature trail goes past the feature while allowing you to start in a less popular area. The route can be started at the Jumbo Rocks Campground area or the main road just outside. We weren't camping there and ended up parking along the road. The trail goes across the road, winds through some interesting terrain, crosses over the road again at Skull Rock and then heads back down to the campground starting area.

Navigation is fairly straightforward; the trail is clear for the most part. A few trail junctions on the north side of the road portion lead to other named features. These are probably worth exploring if you have the time (we didn't get to them but were able to see some features in the distance). Each junction has signage. There was only one spot where the trail was unclear: a wash with some larger rocks obstructing the path. Aside from that one spot navigation is pretty easy.

Trail Conditions
The trail is well maintained and consists mainly of either packed dirt to large flat rock/steps. There were a few sections where you had to scramble over or around some boulders but there was nothing too technical.

This is in the Joshua Tree National Park so National Park Service fees normally apply.

We went in late February, and it was perfect hiking weather. The trail is mostly exposed so hiking in the summer would not be optimal.

General Comments and Musings
We did this trail towards the end of the day while we were road-tripping through the park and stopping at all the roadside attractions. We specifically hiked this trail to access Skull Rock which had no parking available nearby. It worked for that purpose but we could not appreciate Skull Rock as it was mobbed with people. That said, we did see some interesting formations on spur trails off the portion of the loop north of the road. These weren't on our map so we didn't know whether we had the time to explore them before the sun went down. This area was also much less crowded than Skull Rock and was much more enjoyable as a result. If we are ever in the area again I will probably look into exploring this less traveled area.

Check out the Official Route.

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2022-08-24 KingLeonidas
    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.

     Permit $$

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

    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From 29 Palms, head south into Joshua Tree National Park along Utah trail/Park Blvd. Follow this road past Pinto Basin Rd and Skull Rock on your left. Jumbo Rocks Campground will be next on your left. The trail starts here.
    page created by KingLeonidas on Aug 24 2022 9:01 am

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