Joshua Tree Warren Peak Hike

Warren Peak is a high point on the western edge of the Little San Bernardino Mountains in Joshua Tree National Park. Located away from Park Boulevard, Warren Peak offers private peace of mind and near endless views. A 5.5-mile round trip hike to the 5,103-foot summit begins from Black Rock Campground, the only campground in the park where visitors can sleep amongst the Joshua trees. There are plenty of Joshua trees along the start of the trail to Warren Peak. Higher up, there are Pinyon pines and panoramic views.

Park at the campground visitor center, and walk to the trailhead to the left of campsite 30. There are several junctions along the trail, so follow these directions:

  • When you reach the water tank 0.2 miles from the trailhead, turn left and make an immediate right on the single-track trail continuing east across undulating desert.
  • After another 0.4 miles, turn right up the wash in the center of Black Rock Canyon (and get ready for your pace to slow in the sand). From this point on, you will make a right at each forthcoming junction, following signs labeled WP for Warren Peak.
  • After 0.8 miles up the wash, the trail passes through the diminutive Black Rock Spring before continuing another 0.2 miles to a fork where the Panorama Loop breaks off to the left. Turn right here.
  • Make another right at a second fork, 0.4 miles later, where Panorama Loop rejoins the trail.
  • After another 1/3 of a mile, the trail reaches a Y labeled WV-WP. To the left is the spur to Warren View. Take the right fork toward Warren Peak, which is now just 0.4 miles and 400 feet away.

Warren Peak
Warren Peak

The trail ascends the ridgeline east of the peak and takes a somewhat steep and rugged climb to the summit. Warren Peak offers a great view of the Mojave Desert to the north and the Coachella Valley to the south. Also to the south is Mount San Jacinto, the prominent 10,834-foot peak that rises above Palm Springs. To the west is Mount San Gorgonio, a 11,499-foot peak that is the highest point in Southern California. To the east is Eureka Peak and lower summits in the Little San Bernardino Mountains in Joshua Tree National Park. Warren Peak offers quite a view of these impressive Mountains.

Enjoy a moment of solitude on this less-visited summit, before returning the way you came. On the way back, there will be a sign at the junction where the wash meets the trail heading back to the water tank. The sign points to the left toward West Side Loop (Upper Campground). Turn left here. Everything else is self-explanatory — and downhill — so get out and enjoy the hike to Warren Peak!

Warren Peak
Looking out at Mount San Jacinto

To get to the trailhead: From Route 62 in the city of Joshua Tree, turn south on Joshua Lane (5.8 miles west of the intersection with Park Boulevard). Drive 4.6 miles to roads end, turn right and drive an additional half a mile into Black Rock Campground.

Trailhead address: 9800 Black Rock Canyon Road, Joshua Tree National Park, Yucca Valley, CA 92284
Trailhead coordinates: 34.071547, -116.390911

Use the map below to create your own directions:


View Warren Peak GPS in a larger map
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Photos

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These photos were taken in May of 2010. Click to enlarge.

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Distance: 5.5 miles – Elevation change: 1000 feet

5 Comments on Warren Peak in Joshua Tree National Park

  1. Sandi Hemmerlein says:

    Thanks so much for this! I did the hike today and followed your step-by-step instructions which were great. You can see my photos here: http://www.avoidingregret.com/2012/08/photo-essay-warren-peak-black-rock.html

  2. Steph says:

    Great hike. I didn’t realize the entire hike was in a sandy wash but it turned out to be a great workout and the views from the peak were awesome!

  3. [...] information: trip report here; Black Rock Canyon area map here; Everytrail report [...]

  4. [...] For a more adventurous and strenuous hike, we recommend the Warren Peak hike accessible from Blackrock Campground [...]

  5. Pete Sennhauser says:

    This has become one of my favorite hikes, ever since I bought a fixer upper shack in the area, so I can spend winters in a warm place away from Alaska. Because it has become something like a work-out routine, additional features got noticed. Among them trails not shown on any map. Here it should be noted, that not all trails shown on the map above actually exist, while others are not marked, which can be misleading.

    For instance, the trail indicated to drop from Warren summit down the its western slope, connecting with the Little Long Canyon trail below, is an illusion. On the other hand, a large part of what is officially known as the West Loop Trail is not on this map. The missing part veers pretty much straight West near the halfway point on the red trail indicated, and eventually meets the trail mistakenly shown as a loop off Warren Peak.

    To incorporate the Warren Peak excursion into what could be termed a “little grand hike”, one can begin with the Panorama Loop, then continue up Warren Peak and instead of returning the official way, continue from the summit along its northern ridge (there is a small but definite trail). Paying attention, you’ll find where that one meets the West Loop Trail at its highest point (a pass). Cross the WL trail and continue along another faint and soon improving trail up to a distinct ridge, prominently shown on the map, snaking W to E. The trail follows that ridge over a distinct high point, a little peak in its own right. Continue E along the ridge to another high point. On the map you’ll note a short ridge dropping off to the N. Follow that, it’s steep, but manageable. Next you’ll meet the little scenic loop trail, which you can follow counter-clockwise and connect back to the campground. Or you can do a short-cut to the campground, going E right where these trails meet. Because all this is fragile habitat, one must be cautious to tread lightly to preserve Nature the way we like her.

    This could possibly be considered a rather strenuous loop, covering about 8 or so miles, but offers plenty of great scenic views from higher ridges and rewarding summits and just as many excuses to break for a snack. Enjoy:-)
    (Send me a note, if you’d like a map with all those trails marked in detail).

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