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.
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.
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 create your own directions:
View California Desert Hikes in a larger map
This level 1.5-mile loop visits a small foreign-looking reservoir within the Wonderland of Rocks.
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|
This level 1.55 to 2.15-mile hike visits a well-reserved gold mill, exploring the mining history of Joshua Tree National Park.
This 3-mile round-trip hike offers summit views from the center of Joshua Tree National Park.
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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|
This 4-mile round-trip trail visits a well-preserved mine and mill.
|Lucky Boy Vista|
This level 2.5-mile hike visits a modest overlook at the site of an old mine.
|Desert Queen Mine|
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|Fortynine Palms Oasis|
The 3-mile round trip hike visits a cool desert oasis.
The 101-site campground is home to a 0.6-mile interpretive trail and endless bouldering and rock climbing opportunities.
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|High 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 Garden|
This quarter-mile loop allows visitors to stroll through an intense concentration of cholla cacti.
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|Lost Palms Oasis|
This 7.2-mile hike visits a desert oasis nestled between mountains in the southeast corner of the park.
|Hikes 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.
|Red 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 Campgrounds|
There are nine campgrounds with 500 total sites spread throughout the park to facilitate your visit.
|Joshua Tree Wildflowers|
The desert in bloom is something any outdoor enthusiast in California should see.