Hidden Valley Trail Joshua Tree National Park hike California

For an introduction to plant and wildlife in Joshua Tree National Park, visit Hidden Valley. This one-mile loop circles a small valley that is surrounded by tall boulders. Hidden Valley Trail shows off Joshua Tree’s rocky landscapes and is a great place to climb around.

Joshua Tree
Hidden Valley Nature Trail

Take the path from the parking lot between rock walls into Hidden Valley. After climbing over and through this gap in the rocks enclosing hidden valley, you will reach the sandy desert floor and come to a T-junction. Pick a direction and start along the loop. Signs along the nature walk help visitors identify the park’s plants and animals. The trail is mostly level, crossing through hard-packed sand, but does venture through some of the valley’s interesting rock formations.

For more fun of Hidden Valley is found off the trail though. When the temptation to climb gets too great, start scrambling up the rocks. There are some steep sections for climbers, but most of the valley walls are perfect for bouldering. Simply climb around for as long as you like, and then return to the loop.

Joshua Tree
Hiking Hidden Valley Nature Trail

There is a picnic area by the parking lot where tall rocks may provide some welcome mid-day shade. The nearby Hidden Valley Campground has 39 sites and is a popular base for climbers who spend their days scaling the surrounding rocks.

To get to the trailhead: From Park Boulevard turn south into the parking area for the Hidden Valley picnic area, campground, and trailhead. The turnout is located 1.7 miles northeast of the junction with Keys View Road.

Trailhead address: Park Boulevard (Loop Road), Joshua Tree National Park, CA 92277
Trailhead coordinates: 34.012743, -116.168729 (34° 00′ 45.87″N 116° 10′ 07.42″W)

Use the map below to view the trail and get directions:

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These photos were taken in November of 2006, January of 2008, and July of 2014. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
Barker Dam TrailBarker Dam
This level 1.5-mile loop visits a small foreign-looking reservoir within the Wonderland of Rocks.
Wonderland Wash trailWonderland Wash
This level 2.1-mile hike travels past the ruins of Wonderland Ranch up a use trail into the Wonderland of Rocks.
Wall Street Mill trailWall Street Mill
This level 1.55 to 2.15-mile hike visits a well-reserved gold mill, exploring the mining history of Joshua Tree National Park.
Ryan Mountain TrailRyan Mountain
This 3-mile hike offers summit views from the center of Joshua Tree National Park.
Ryan Ranch TrailRyan Ranch
This 0.8 or 1.2-mile round trip hike visits the ruins of an old adobe homestead beneath Ryan Mountain.
Keys View TrailInspiration Peak
This 1.2-mile hike leaves the crowds at Keys View for even grander views at a 5,550-foot summit that looks out on the Coachella Valley, the Salton Sea, Mount San Jacinto, and much of Joshua Tree National Park.
Lost Horse Mine TrailLost Horse Mine
This 4-mile hike visits a well-preserved mine and mill.
Lucky Boy Vista TrailLucky Boy Vista
This level 2.5-mile hike visits a modest overlook at the site of an old mine.
Desert Queen Mine TrailDesert Queen Mine
This 1.6-mile hike follows a level trail to an overlook before crossing a canyon to visits the ruins of one the most profitable gold mines in the California desert.
Joshua Tree Oasis TrailFortynine Palms Oasis
The 3-mile round trip hike visits a cool desert oasis.
India Cove TrailIndian Cove
The 101-site campground is home to a 0.6-mile interpretive trail and endless bouldering and rock climbing opportunities.
Warren Peak TrailWarren Peak
This 5.5-mile hike summits a peak with impressive views over the west side of Joshua Tree.
high view nature trailHigh View Nature Trail
This 1 1/3-mile loop climbs a ridge on the west side of the park that offers views of San Gorgonio Mountain and Yucca Valley, along with an introduction to desert plants.
Cholla Cactus TrailCholla Cactus Garden
This quarter-mile loop allows visitors to stroll through an intense concentration of cholla cacti.
Mastodon Peak TrailMastodon Peak
This 2.6-mile loop visits a 3,400-foot summit with panoramic views of southeastern Joshua Tree.
Lost Palms Oasis TrailLost Palms Oasis
This 7.2-mile hike visits a desert oasis nestled between mountains in the southeast corner of the park.
California TrailsHikes in the California Desert
Explore more trails in Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and Mojave National Preserve.
Similar Trails
Red Rock CanyonRed Rock Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains
The trails in this beautifully sculpted canyon are 2.5 and 5.2 miles in length.
Joshua Tree CampingJoshua Tree Campgrounds
There are nine campgrounds with 500 total sites spread throughout the park to facilitate your visit.
Joshua Tree WildflowersJoshua Tree Wildflowers
The desert in bloom is something any outdoor enthusiast in California should see.

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Distance: 1 mile – Elevation change: 25 feet

4 Comments on Hidden Valley in Joshua Tree National Park

  1. […] did the excellent Hidden Valley hike – http://www.hikespeak.com/trails/hidden-valley-in-joshua-tree/ (many climbers), followed by the Keys view overlook […]

  2. […] Hidden Valley showcases some of the park’s best features, thus tends to be one of the busiest spots in the park. We have arrived relatively early, so hope to beat most of the crowds.The valley has only one narrow entrance (enlarged by a local resident by blasting just prior to the property’s becoming a park), making it the reported hide-out of cattle rustlers. […]

  3. […] Hidden Valley Trail is a highlight of the park, but I read that many visitors miss this rock-ringed enclave. “It encapsulates what the park is all about,” says the park’s chief of interpretation. Take a short side road off the park’s main artery, and you come to the trailhead.  Unfortunately, those same gray skies followed us here too. […]

  4. […] explored the Hidden Valley Trail.  That dot on top of the rock is a climber taking advantage of one of the park’s […]

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