There are many beautiful hikes in Joshua tree and I wish we’d had the time to do more! It can be difficult to choose the best hikes to do when you have limited time, so here’s a quick look at our favourites. All of them are relatively short and doable for those of all fitness levels.
3. Key’s View- This is a short but steep loop to a beautiful look out point. From here you can see the San Andreas fault line, the Salton Sea, the snow capped Peninsular ranges and, on on very clear days, Signal Mountain all the way in Mexico. It’s seriously an amazing view and well worth visiting.
2. Hidden Valley trail- This beautiful short hike is the perfect introduction to the Joshua tree terrain. The 1 mile (1.6 km) walk took us about an hour and a half because it’s so easy to get side tracked climbing the rocks and admiring the plant life. Be careful where you put your hand as rattle snakes can hide between the cracks in the rocks! Luckily all we saw was some small lizards. The cool thing about this trail is that it was once used by cattle rustlers-it’s enclosed nature within the rocks made it perfect for hiding cattle and preventing them from wandering off. This little hike is a great way to get a quick overview of the history of Joshua tree and to experience the unique features of the Mojave desert.
1. The Barker Dam Trail- This trail is a short 1.3 mile (2.1 km) loop. It was by far my favourite hike in Joshua tree. The scenery here is typical- big boulders and Joshua trees-but you will also go by barker dam which was built in 1950. This is one of the few places in the park where there is water so it’s a good spot for wildlife watching. You might even see a big horn sheep! There are also petroglyphs near the end of the trail! These are Native American rock carvings and its very cool to see these two different parts of history being preserved in the park. This hike differs from the hidden valley trail in that for part of it you exit the sea of boulders and are in the vast flat desert. Here there is lots of plant life and there are handy information plaques which tell you what everything is. This hike was just really beautiful and less busy than the hidden valley trail. You really feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere in a really good way.