Off Black Canyon Road in Mojave National Preserve, the Hole-in-the-Wall Rings Trail is a must see! The namesake Ringbolts serve as hand holds and steps, granting passage through a couple steep and narrow sections on this 1.5-mile loop (or 0.5-mile out and back hike for those preferring to repeat the most exciting stretch of the hike). The Hole-in-the-Wall Rings Trail delivers a short fun hiking experience for park visitors.
Before setting out on the trail, take a quick detour to fenced-in overlook with a view into one of Hole-in-the-Wall’s unique canyons of pocketed rock walls. Hole-in-the-Wall was created millions of years ago when a nearby volcano erupted, covering the area with a mixture of gas and ash. The ash cooled and the gas dissipated, leaving behind the porous holes in the walls.
Leave the overlook and follow the Rings Trail down a few boulders into a narrow canyon. There are two dry falls on the descent into Banshee Canyon, the heart of Hole-in-the-Wall the name for the crying sound that the wind make as it blows through the Swiss Cheese-like rock formations. To make it safe for hikers to continue, there are two sets of rock-mounted ringbolts, which you can use as hand holds and steps to proceed down to the rocky amphitheater at the bottom of Banshee Canyon. Here you will be lured off trail to poke your head through porthole-sized gaps or climb inside larger pockets in the hundred-foot tall rock face.
Looking down a section of the rings trail
The opening quarter mile stretch of the Rings Trail is the most exciting and hikers may wish to turn around at the bottom of the canyon and hike back up over the rings for a 0.5-mile round trip hike. Otherwise, follow the path out the mouth of Banshee Canyon into a broader desert landscape. Reach a junction with Barbour Peak Loop Trail and turn left, continuing along the Rings Trail as it wraps around the south side of a rock wall on a gradual course to a trailhead next to the Hole-in-the-Wall Visitor Center. There are no ringbolts on this easy 1-mile stretch of the loop. Pass through two ranching fences to circle back to a alternate trailhead near the visitor center, which is a quarter mile from the starting trailhead for the Rings Trail. To connect the two trailheads, simply walk down the same road you drove in.
There are bathroom and picnic tables near the trailhead. No fee or permit is required to hike Hole-in-the-Wall Rings Trail in Mojave National Preserve, so get out and enjoy!
To get to the trailhead: From Barstow, head west on the 40 freeway. Take exit 100 and head north on Essex Road. After 10 miles turn right onto Black Canyon Road and continue north for another 10 miles. Hole-in-the-Wall will be on the left.
Trailhead address: Hole-in-the-Wall off Black Canyon Road, Mojave National Preserve, CA 92332
Trailhead coordinates: 35.043746, -115.398252
Use the map below to create your own directions:
This 3.4 to 4-mile round trip hike crosses the world’s densest Joshua tree forest, passing an abandoned silver mine to reach a rocky summit with views of Cima Dome.
This 5-mile off trail trek summits a peak with commanding views over the Providence Mountains.
This 3-mile round trip hike climbs 470 feet to the highest point in this 45 square mile dune field.
|New York Peak|
This 7 to 9-mile round trip hike summits the highest point of the New York Range in the northeast corner of the preserve.
This 8.5-mile hike summits a 6,365-foot peak in the Granite Mountains.
This 3-mile round trip hike travels up and into this crater adjacent to Mojave National Preserve.
|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.
|Mojave National Preserve|
There are a few campgrounds and endless roadside camping within the preserve.