Joshua Tree National Park is an amazing place to visit. The sky at night is unpolluted by city lights and you can star gaze; and during the day there are ample places to rock climb, with several hikes available. The best time to visit Joshua Tree is early spring (March and April) or late summer (October and November); with spring affording the chance to see blooming flowers. Visiting during the winter can also be nice; there are less crowds during the winter and the temperature is pleasant from 2 hours after sunrise to when the sun starts to go down. Summer evenings can be a great time to visit as temperatures are more tolerable than during the day; and there is the chance to see impressive lightning storms from June to August.
I enjoyed hiking during my time at Joshua Tree. I hope you enjoy the list of hikes I did while there.
Hidden Valley Trail:
This trail is very easy and ~1 mile roundtrip. This starts near Twentynine Palms on the western edge of Joshua Tree. The trail is level and popular for climbing.
Lost Horse Mine Loop:
This trail is moderately difficult and ~6.5 miles roundtrip. This is in the southwest section of JTNP and features Joshua Trees, impressive views, cacti, Gram Parson’s graffiti near the closed mine (but please follow the “Leave No Trace” policy and don’t deface park property). I recommend hiking to the mine clockwise when the weather is cooler. **Get here early to get parking and carry extra water where the hike has little to no shade.
Lost Palms Oasis:
This is a moderately difficult hike that is approximately ~7.5 miles. This hike is in the southeast quadrant of JTNP. Hikers can see an oasis, fan palms, wildflowers, wildlife, and horizon views.
The Maze Loop is between 4.5-8.5 miles depending on the route the hiker takes. The hike is moderately difficult. The standard 4.5 loop has amazing views of JTNP, rock formations, and juniper trees. You can combine three loop trails (Maze Loop, Window Loop, and North View) to hike the Grand Loop. **Always carry a map.
The Pine City hike is easy to moderate and ~4 miles roundtrip. This trail is in the northeast corner of Queen Valley amidst canyons. The trail gets its name from all the pinyon pine found on the trail. The trail is mainly level and has several rock formations. Occasionally one can see Desert Bighorn Sheep in the early morning or evening. **Pine City is for day use only so plan accordingly; and if you want a more strenuous hike explore the canyons nearby.
This hike is moderately difficult and ~3 miles roundtrip. This trail is in the center of JTNP; and the closest trail to the west entrance. It is a steady climb to a summit and the trail provides a great view of the park. Crowds can be impressive during peak times, but the views at sunset are amazing. **Be sure to watch for snakes during the hike.
This is a strenuous hike that is ~11.5 miles roundtrip. It is located beyond the Lost Palms Oasis in a palm grove that is in Munsen Canyon. The trail features Fan Palms, Mojave yucca, jojoba, cholla cacti, creosote, palo verde trees, and juniper—among other vegetation; there are also springs and pools. The hike requires hiking experience, navigation, and ability to withstand a substantial elevation gain.
Warren Peak hike is easy and ~5.5 miles roundtrip. The best time to visit is around sunrise. Hikers can see Joshua Trees, pinyon, juniper, and oak trees.
Willow Hole and the Wonderland of Rocks:
It is an easy hike that is ~7 miles. The trail is fairly level and there is only a 20 feet elevation gain. Desert Bighorn Sheep can be seen on this trail. **Carry a map for this trail to avoid getting lost.
This trail is also easy and ~2 miles roundtrip. The rock formations here are interesting to see and the elevation gain is only 75 feet over the course of the hike.
*Water sources are scarce, and easily polluted—unsuitable for drinking. JTNP recommends bringing in your own water, approximately one gallon per person per day—especially during the daytime in the summer.
**Cell service, if available, is spotty. Don’t rely on navigation apps on your phone for getting in and out.
***There are several luxury hotels, with relaxing soaking tubs and day spas, in nearby Palm Springs.