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Here Are the 5 Best Hikes in Joshua Tree You Need to Take Now

Here Are the 5 Best Hikes in Joshua Tree You Need to Take Now

Discover the top 5 hikes in Joshua Tree National Park, from family-friendly trails to challenging summits with stunning views. Team


2 min read

November 08, 2023

Joshua Tree National Park is an otherworldly landscape where two deserts meet. The Mojave and Colorado ecosystems converge to create a unique environment that boasts some of the most captivating hikes in North America. With its iconic Joshua trees, massive boulders, and starry nights, this is a hiker's paradise. Whether you're an experienced trailblazer or a weekend warrior, here are the five best hikes in Joshua Tree that should be on your radar.

Hidden Valley Nature Trail

For those new to desert hiking or traveling with families, the Hidden Valley Nature Trail is a perfect introduction. This one-mile loop is relatively flat and takes you through a rock-enclosed valley rumored to have been used by cattle rustlers. The trail is well-marked and offers a plethora of rock formations, Joshua trees, and pinyon pines. The picnic area at the trailhead makes it a great spot to relax after your hike.

Ryan Mountain Trail

Looking for panoramic views? Ryan Mountain Trail is your destination. This 3-mile round trip trail is a moderate to strenuous hike that ascends to the summit of Ryan Mountain. Standing at 5,457 feet, the peak provides a 360-degree view of the park, including landmarks like Lost Horse Valley and Queen Valley. The path is steep and rocky, so wear sturdy boots and carry plenty of water, especially in the warmer months.

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Lost Palms Oasis Trail

The Lost Palms Oasis Trail is a 7.2-mile out-and-back trail that offers a deep dive into the desert ecosystem. The trail features a series of palm oases—rare, lush spots in the desert where water is found. These micro-habitats are a sharp contrast to the surrounding desert and provide a haven for various wildlife. As you venture towards the oasis, keep an eye out for bighorn sheep that often frequent the area.

Arch Rock Nature Trail

For something short yet iconic, the Arch Rock Nature Trail is a 0.5-mile loop that leads to its namesake: a natural granite arch. The trailhead is located within the White Tank Campground. This is an easy hike and gives you the opportunity to explore the fascinating rock formations that Joshua Tree is known for. Its also an excellent place for photography, especially during the golden hours of dawn and dusk.

Exploring Joshua Tree National Park can be an invigorating outdoors experience.

Boy Scout Trail

For the seasoned hiker, the Boy Scout Trail is an 8-mile one-way trek that showcases the variety of Joshua Tree's landscapes. From the high Mojave Desert to the lower Colorado Desert, this trail provides a full spectrum of the park's flora and geological features. Because it's a point-to-point hike, you can either arrange for a pickup at the other end or prepare for a 16-mile round trip. The trail also offers several backcountry camping spots for those wanting to experience Joshua Tree's famous starlit skies overnight.

Each of these hikes encapsulates a distinct aspect of Joshua Tree National Park's beauty. Always remember to check the weather, wear appropriate attire, and carry enough water. Hiking in the desert is remarkably rewarding but demands respect for the elements. Joshua Tree is not just a place to hike; it's an experience that connects you with the raw beauty of the natural world. So lace up your boots, pack your essentials, and prepare to be mesmerized by the trails of Joshua Tree.

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