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.
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. There’s no wrong way to explore Hidden Valley.
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.
More Hidden Valley fun is found off the trail. When the temptation to climb gets too great, start scrambling up the rocks. The valley has some steep sections for climbers, but most of the walls are perfect for bouldering. Scramble up rocks for as long as you like, gaining nice overviews, and then return to the loop.
A picnic area by the parking lot is wrapped by tall rocks capable of providing 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: 34.01237, -116.1680 (34° 00′ 44.5″N 116° 10′ 04.8″W)
|Barker Dam |
This level 1.5-mile loop visits a small foreign-looking reservoir within the Wonderland of Rocks.
|Wonderland 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 |
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 |
This 3-mile hike offers summit views from the center of Joshua Tree National Park.
|Ryan Ranch |
This 0.8 or 1.2-mile round trip hike visits the ruins of an old adobe homestead beneath Ryan Mountain.
|Inspiration 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 |
This 4-mile hike 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 |
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.
|Fortynine Palms Oasis |
The 3-mile round trip hike visits a cool desert oasis.
|Indian Cove |
The 101-site campground is home to a 0.6-mile interpretive trail and endless bouldering and rock climbing opportunities.
|Warren Peak |
This 5.5-mile hike summits a peak with impressive views over the west side of Joshua Tree.
|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.
|Mastodon Peak |
This 2.6-mile loop visits a 3,400-foot summit with panoramic views of southeastern Joshua Tree.
|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 |
Nine campgrounds with 500 total sites are spread throughout the park to facilitate your visit.
|Joshua Tree Wildflowers |
The desert in bloom is something any outdoor enthusiast in California should see.