Want to see a natural arch in Joshua Tree National Park? Take a short hike to Arch Rock within the granite formations surrounding White Tank Campground. An easy and enjoyable 0.3-mile loop leaving the campground is a must-do stroll for anyone staying at White Tank Campground. Other park visitors can now enjoy a 1.3-mile lollipop loop hike that begins from a trailhead along Pinto Basin Road.
Arch Rock from Twin Tanks Trailhead
To reach the new trailhead, take Pinto Basin Road 2.2 miles south of Park Boulevard or half a mile northwest of White Tank Campground to the Twin Tanks Day Use Area on the west side of the road. Set out south from the Twin Tanks.
After 0.15 miles of cross desert hiking, make a left on California Riding and Hiking Trail, cross Pinto Basin Road, and then make a right off of California Riding and Hiking Trail to continue hiking gradually downhill toward White Tank Campground. At 0.55 miles from the trailhead, come to a T-junction at the start of a 0.2-mile loop to Arch Rock.
Arch Rock from White Tank Campground
Campers will find a trail to Arch Rock from within White Tank Campground. Driving into the campground, take the left split in the road. A path to Arch Rock begins alongside campsite nine. The arch is an eighth of a mile up the trail and easy to spot. Take your time getting to Arch Rock and read the placards along the trail that describe the geological history that contributed to the creation of the arch.
Day use parking may be available near site fifteen at the end of the loop. However, with the creation of the trail from the Twin Tanks Day Use Area, the campgrounds day use parking may no longer be available (and was limited to begin with).
Arch Rock Loop
The single-track trail provides a side-view of Arch Rock, and a few steps off trail puts hikers right below the rock span. Climb right up and touch it if you like. Arch Rock is about 30-feet across and shaped somewhat like a brontosaurus. Though certainly not in the same league as the spans in Arches National Park, Arch Rock is still a fascinating formation.
The trail circling back the junction with trail from Twin Tanks or with the edge White Tank Campground (depending on where you began).
This is easy and family-friendly hike makes a nice outing. Arches are always cool to see, so go check it out. Joshua Tree National Park has an entrance fee, but no permit is required to hike to Arch Rock.
To get to Twin Tanks Trailhead: From the intersection with Park Boulevard and Pinto Basin Road (4.5 miles south of the north entrance), head southwest on Pinto Basin Road for 2.2 miles to Twin Tanks Day Use Area, on the right. The trail begins from the south end of the parking area. Coming from the other direction, the trailhead is half a mile past White Tank Campground.
Trailhead address: Twin Tanks Backcountry Registration Board, Pinto Basin Road, Joshua Tree National Park, CA 92277
Trailhead coordinates: 33.9899, -116.02275 (33° 59′ 23.6″N 116° 01′ 22″W)
To get to White Tank Campground: From the intersection with Park Boulevard and Pinto Basin Road (4.5 miles south of the north entrance), head southwest on Pinto Basin Road for 2.7 miles to White Tank Campground. Enter the campground and proceed to the trailhead near site #9. Coming from the other direction, White Tank Campground is 27 mile up Pinto Basin Road from the Cottonwood Visitor Center.
Campground address: White Tank Campground, Pinto Basin Road, Joshua Tree National Park, CA 92277
Campground coordinates: 33.9852, -116.01655 (33° 59′ 06.7″N 116° 00′ 59.6″W)
You may also view a regional map of surrounding California Desert trails and campgrounds.
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