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The Best Hikes in Joshua Tree NP National Park

179 Triplog Reviews in the Joshua Tree NP National Park
Most recent of 56 deeper Triplog Reviews
3.9 mi • 761 ft aeg
Joshua Tree NP Lost Horse Mine
Still had the whole afternoon left so we decided to do a hike with a little more beef (Not a 16 oz steak though) and the Lost Horse Mine was a good choice. This 4 mile round trip trail has a good AEG but not too much for the person I was hiking with. Good views overlooking Joshua Tree Park and to the North of the deserts near 29 Palms. The Lost Horse Mine and mill are are fairly well preserved (at least the mill is). For those wishing a little longer hike the Lost Horse Mine trail is a 6 mile loop trail, 2 miles to the mine and 4 miles around the west side of the mountain and back to the start point. I will have to do that someday. Another great hike in the park, but then I haven't had a bad hike in this park yet.
18.5 mi • 3,500 ft aeg
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.
33.5 mi • 4,550 ft aeg
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.
0 mi • 0 ft aeg
I went to Joshua Tree National Park this weekend. I had nothing going on in the East Valley, and I didn't want to go up north and possibly run into you guys - no offense (just kidding, take offense).

I've never been to the park in June and wanted to see what was different about June from the other months. I like to explore areas at different times of the year to see how the flora and fauna respond to each season.

June is a lot like May, but with some key difference. First off, the park has fewer visitors in June and that might alter the behaviors of some animals. Secondly, there were fewer flowers. I didn't see any chuckwallas, and I saw fewer lizards over all, with the exception of geckos and desert spiny lizards. In fact, the key difference that make June unique from any other month at Joshua Tree is that there were a plethora of desert spiny lizards everywhere. June is when they pair up and they were out in full force.

Another difference is that the snakes were coming out very late at night (mostly after 10pm) because the days were longer. The temps were between 84 and 90 degrees where I was at - not too hot. I didn't get much love from the park this month, as animals were tougher to find than usual. Staying up until 2am and getting up at 5am is not fun, but if I don't photograph the snakes, then who will?

Snake sightings (2016):

- Gophersnakes: 18
- Sidewinders: 19
- Dbacks: 21
- Kingsnakes: 9*
- Ground Snake: 1
- Threadsnake: 1
- Coachwhips: 13
- Night Snakes: 7
- Spotted Leaf-nosed: 3
- Lyre snakes: 3
- Checkered garters: 2
- Patch-nosed: 5
- Long-nosed: 3
- Shovel-nosed: 8*
- Speckled Rattler: 3
- Sand snake: 2
- Glossy snake: 2
- Terrestrial Garter Snake: 4

Total = 124 :D

*The most that I've ever seen in one year.
0 mi • 0 ft aeg
I was supposed to go to Houston to meet a friend this weekend and teach her how to go herping, but she went to Egypt this month for business, so I decided to go to Joshua Tree on Monday. Had an awesome time at JTNP! Saw 11th snakes and got my 100th snake of the year. :y: I spent exactly 26 hours in and near the park. The park was relatively empty.

The highlight of the trip was seeing a pocket gopher. The first pocket gopher that I saw in March was super mellow and let me photograph him up close. This pocket gopher was not so mellow. I saw him while I was hiking and ran after it. When I caught up to it, he turned on me and started chasing me. He attacked my feet, but pocket gophers are slow, so it was easy to dodge him. He hissed and chirped but then mellowed out. After I was done with him. He began to follow me like a lost puppy. If I walked left, he walked left. If I turned right, he turned right. He stopped when I stopped and even walked backwards as if doing the moonwalk. I then ran and he did not or could not keep up.

I saw 4 shovel-nosed snakes, which was weird because I don't see them too often. The lyresnake was cool too and easy to photograph and pose. I also saw my first glossy snake.

This was one of my better trips to the park, even though I didn't see any sidewinders. I wasn't sure how it would turn out but it seem to turn out well. The temps at Joshua Tree seem to be cooler than usual, but the temps were just right when I was there.
0 mi • 0 ft aeg
Name: gummo

Date: 4/21//16 to 4/25/16

Mission: to find snakes and to get more dates.

Snakes (2016): 63

Dates (2016): 5 (see how that works?)

Song: Gotta Win The Lottery by Califlower featuring Bob Dylan and Louis Armstrong (https://youtube.com ... 4MiQ)

Temps: varied from mid 70s to low 90s.

Trip Highlights: 1) Chuckwalla invasion, 2) A sweet shovel-nosed snake, 3) Saw Widowmaker's favorite rock and was careful not to touch it, 4) Saw a few Wilson Warblers (new species for me), 5) Hiked a sweet speckled rattler.

Fauna sightings (2016):
- Gophersnakes: 12
- Sidewinders: 14
- Dbacks: 13
- Coachwhips:9
- Night Snakes: 5
- Spotted Leafnosed: 3
- Lyresnakes: 1
- Checkered garters: 2
- Patchnosed: 1
- Long-nosed: 1 (4/25/16)
- Shovel-nosed: 1
- Speckled Rattler: 1
- Tortoises: 2
- Gila Monsters: 1
- Coyotes: 5

New Species (2016): 20
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I took some time off work to go to Joshua Tree NP to go on my hunt. Hunting sidewinders was on my things-to-do-list this trip, and I did find some and other fun stuff to photograph. HAZ is a great site, but one of the biggest complains that I hear about HAZ is that there's not enough sidewinder photos on it, and I agree. So to help out hikearizona, I voluntarily took some time to look for sidewinders to photograph and post on HAZ.

Joshua Tree was free to enter this week, but it was not crowded at all. I first went to the north end and tooled around and acted like a typical tourist. I then went to the south end to scout around for reptiles and found a few. Few flowers were out because the chuckwallas probably ate most of them.

The next day was pretty much the same as the last day, but I didn't go up north. I saw a lot more bird this day. I saw Jim_H was in the area, so I called him. I didn't answer. Oh well. I hiked a sweet speckled rattler and soon after almost tripped over a desert tortoise. The chuckwallas, though, were off the hook. One darted in front of me and started posing away, as if he wanted to be on America's Next Top Model. The other chuckwalla did the same thing but was more interested in eating and licking a plant. He came so close to me, I had to back up. This entertained some of the other hikers. I think if I stood still, it might've crawled on me.

After that, I was kind of done with Joshua Tree for now and cruise over to AZ to camp and look for more snakes. I came home to a loquacious cat, who was happy to either see me or to get his bed back. His bed is my suitcase. Overall, it was kind of the usual trip.
0 mi • 0 ft aeg
Triplogs sound better in my head than on the keyboard. I went to Joshua Tree National Park to add more sidewinder photos to this site. I saw 6, and sadly saw one of them get run over. Saturday night was busy at the park. Sunday was not as busy.

I did a lot of night surveillance lookin' for creepy crawlers. Most of the snakes were very small and hard to find. I found my first night snake in the park. There's always something new to see at Joshua Tree. :) I don't know how far I hiked but staying up until 2am and waking up at sunset for two days straight wore my out.
1.7 mi • 85 ft aeg
This was our last hike of the day in Joshua Tree. The skull rock is the highlight and will be full of people taking pictures, but once you venture out on the nature trail, not so many people. The trail is a nice easy hike with plenty to look at. If you complete the loop you'll be going through part of the campgrounds, its kind of a weird route.
2.6 mi • 0 ft aeg
We accessed Wall Street Mill from the Barker Dam Trail head. This makes the hike a little longer. The Wall Street Mill is at the end of the hike, its in pretty good shape still, its also fenced off. There are some old cars there too, and a windmill and some house ruins along the trail too. This hike was at about 3pm for us so it was getting pretty warm. We had decided against the mountain house we had for lunch and settled on some bars and dorritos, tasty. :) On the way out, instead of going back on the paved road we opted for driving along some of the dirt roads in the Queen Valley area, pretty nice back there.

https://youtube.com ... 3mdA
1.25 mi • 100 ft aeg
This one was one of the first we had on our list as it seemed pretty popular. These nature traiuls the hikes are pretty easy, but always scenic. When we got to the dam there was very little water, not like the pictures I had seen of the area. Still glad we did it. Made for a good snack stop.

https://youtube.com ... aAbc

Wildflowers
The Joshua Trees were just about to blossom.
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