The Best Hiking Trails in Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is a beautiful desert park located in southeastern California, with over 790,000 acres of breathtaking desert scenery, fascinating rock formations, and a diverse range of plant and animal life. It’s a haven for hikers of all levels, with a variety of trails available that offer varying degrees of difficulty and length. If you’re planning a visit to Joshua Tree National Park, here are the top hiking trails you shouldn’t miss.

Hidden Valley Trail

Hidden Valley Trail is a one-mile loop trail that offers a great introduction to the park’s unique landscape. The trail is beginner-friendly, making it the perfect option for those who aren’t experienced hikers. It takes you through a valley surrounded by massive boulders, providing you with plenty of opportunities to climb and take in the park’s views.

Barker Dam Trail

Barker Dam Trail is a moderate two-mile loop trail that takes hikers through a serene valley dotted with Joshua trees. It’s known for its stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the mesmerizing desert scenery. The trail is suitable for those who are new to hiking, and it’s also wheelchair accessible.

Ryan Mountain Trail

The Ryan Mountain Trail is a strenuous three-mile hike that’s ideal for experienced hikers. It leads to the 5,455-foot-high Ryan Mountain, offering 360-degree views of the park, including the Salton Sea. Despite its difficulty, this trail is popular due to its fantastic view.

Lost Palms Oasis Trail

Lost Palms Oasis Trail is a 7.2-mile roundtrip trail that takes hikers through a desert landscape filled with a diverse range of plant life, including giant palms. It is a strenuous hike due to its length, but the views of the palm-filled oasis are worth the effort. It is best to start this trail early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day.

Keys View Trail

The Keys View Trail is a straightforward, 15-minute roundtrip hike that offers one of the best views of Joshua Tree National Park. It takes you up to a vista point that provides unobstructed views of the San Andreas Fault and the surrounding mountains. If you want a picture perfect backdrop to show off on your social media, Keys View is the perfect option!

49 Palms Oasis Trail

The 49 Palms Oasis Trail is a challenging five-mile roundtrip hike that takes you through a shaded canyon to a stunning palm-filled oasis. While the trail is strenuous, with a steep ascent and a rocky trail, it leads to one of the most beautiful locations in the park.

Cholla Cactus Garden Trail

The Cholla Cactus Garden Trail is a half-mile walk that takes you through a dense grove of cholla cacti. It’s a unique experience, as the cacti are dotted with spines and are known for their beauty and danger. The trail is a great option for those looking for something easy and light-hearted.

Split Rock Trail

Split Rock Trail is a two-and-a-half-mile roundtrip trail that takes hikers through an area of Joshua Tree National Park filled with giant boulders. The boulders have split in two, creating a pathway that’s easy to navigate. The trail is suitable for all levels of hikers, but be sure to bring a camera; the views are simply stunning!


Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, Joshua Tree National Park offers something for everyone. The best way to experience the park is to hit the most popular trails, but off the beaten path, there are plenty of hidden gems and exciting routes to take. When you visit Joshua Tree National Park, be sure to take advantage of the hiking opportunities and explore the incredible desert scenery.

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