Short Easy Hikes In Joshua Tree National Park

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Located in Southern California, the Joshua Tree National Park is an American national park named after Yucca brevifolia (Joshua Trees) which are native to the Mojave Desert. The park, situated north of Palm Springs and bordering communities, is about 160 miles east of San Deigo between the Mojave and Colorado deserts.

Initially, the park was declared a national monument in 1936. However, in 1994, following the passing of the California Desert Protection Act by the U.S. Congress, it was appropriated as a national park. Below are some Joshua Tree National Park hiking trails to take the best hikes.

Arch Rock Trail in Joshua Tree

This trail situated at White Tank campground is a 0.5-mile hike that can be completed in 20 minutes. The Arch Rock Nature Trail has many beautiful rocks, which can be seen alongside the Yucca plant.

Taking a hike halfway through the trail, you will notice an arch that measures 30 feet in width. The arch rock forms a shade and is an ideal spot to enjoy a picnic and appreciate the beautiful scenery.

Bajada Trail in Joshua Tree

The Bajada Trail is a 0.3-mile loop of 5 feet of elevation gain. It is situated off the Cottonwood Visitor Center in Joshua Tree National Park, close to Highway 10.

Located beyond the trail are captivating mountains which serve as a compelling background.

Barker Dam Trail in Joshua Tree

The Barker Dam Trail is famous for its numerous boulder piles at its southern end. Follow the trail to see the dam and desert plants, including creosote and many Joshua trees.

This trail is known to attract hikers, strollers, and rock climbers. It is a 1.1-mile loop with 50 feet of elevation gain. The dam is situated between the Wonderland of Rocks and the Green Valley.

Visit the Joshua Tree and the dam during the rainy season to see the dam filled with water. This is one of the reasons why the Badjada trail is on the top three best Joshua Tree hikes.

Cap Rock Trail in Joshua Tree

This trail lies between Boulevard Park and Keys View Road in the central part of the park. It is \a 0.4-mile trail with little elevation gain, distinctive rock formations, and several plants such as the Silver cholla cactus, Desert sage, and New Mexico thistle.

Also in the vicinity is a picnic area equipped with grills and picnic tables where tourists can have lunch and enjoy the unique scenery of the Joshua Tree trails. This trail is a short easy hike for all age groups as they enjoy the trail winds.

Cholla Cactus Garden Trail in Joshua Tree

This is a 0.25-mile flat trail located 12 miles south of the park entrance. It covers 10 acres of land and is mostly covered by the Cholla cactus garden, also known as the Teddy bear cholla cacti.

The teddy bear cactus is sheathed in prickly spines and can be very uncomfortable for tourists who do not stick to the trail. You might want to visit in March or April to observe the spring bloom. Brochures with interpretive signs are available, providing tourists with information about the plants.

Cottonwood Spring Trail in Joshua Tree

This is a must-see spot in the Joshua Tree National Park. The spring, the outcome of an earthquake, pushes out about 500 gallons of water daily to the surface. This spring also houses a desert tree known as Cottonwood.

Located close to the Cottonwood Spring Visitors Center, 7 miles from the southern entrance to the park, is the spring trail which is a 3-mile trail leading to the Mastodon Warren Peak Trail.

This trial provides fantastic views, two of which include the Winona Mill site and the Mastodon Mine. Hiking this trail allows you to learn about desert plants and wildlife while experiencing one of the easiest hikes in the Joshua Tree hiking trails.

Discovery Trail in Joshua Tree

Designed and built in 2013 by a group of students, the Discovery Trail in Joshua Tree National Park is situated 2.8-miles west of the Pinto Basin Road and 0.6-miles east of the Rocks Campground across Park Boulevard. The Discovery trial in the Joshua Tree National Park is a .7-mile loop that takes approximately 16 minutes to complete.

While hiking, you will come across descriptive signs explaining the geological process that led to the formation of the canyons and rock piles you encounter. This trail highlights features of interest to kids and adults, which means you’re guaranteed to have a great time hiking the excellent nature trails it features.

Hidden Valley Trail in Joshua Tree

Known as the most spectacular hiking trail in the Joshua Tree National Park, the Hidden valley nature trail is a 2.6-mile spiral trail. Pointers along the trail help tourists identify the different plants and wildlife in the park.

The area has rocky landscapes great for climbing, though most tourists fancy observing the climbers as they clamber up the rocks. Within the vicinity is a picnic area located close to the parking lot, where tourists are free to relax under the shade provided by the Joshua Trees.

Also visible are the pines, oaks, yucca, juniper, and various species of cacti. You may catch a glimpse of wildlife along the hidden valley trail map.

Indian Cove Trail in Joshua Tree

Located in the northern region of Joshua Tree National Park, the Indian Cove Trail is a 0.6-mile loop trail with minimal elevation incorporated with steps as you proceed down the trail. It takes about 14 minutes to complete this trail.

As you experience one of the shortest hikes through one of the finest national parks, signs provide information about the desert plants and animals in the landscape. This trail has lots of rock formations, so come prepared for a steep climb.

Keys View Trail in Joshua Tree

The distance of the Keys View trail from the west entrance of the Joshua Tree National Park is a 30-minute drive. It is a 1.2-mile loop trail that takes 45 minutes to complete, making it one of the most extended Joshua Tree hikes on this list.

It is the starting point for a boy scout trail hike to Inspiration Peak. Its famous landmarks include the San Bernardino Mountains, Palm Springs, and the Coachella valley.

Oasis of Mara Trail in Joshua Tree

This short, 0.5-mile trail is situated near the Twentynine Palms at the Joshua Tree National Park Oasis Visitor Center. During fall, winter and spring, the trail is open to the public but is closed during summer by the national park service to allow the bighorn sheep uninterrupted access to surface water.

The trail provides a safe water spring, allowing plants and animals to thrive in the brutal climate. As you enjoy the Joshua Tree hikes, follow the signs and avoid wandering off into the desert oasis.

Ryan Ranch Trail in Joshua Tree

The Ryan Ranch Trail is a 1.1-mile trail close to the Twentynine Palms, which takes 23 minutes to complete in the Joshua Tree National Park. The Ryan Ranch Trailhead is easily reached from Park Boulevard.

The pristine ruins, which in 1936 became a national monument, are fascinating to all. Ryan Ranch Trail is highly recommended if you love history. It is essential to avoid disrupting the ruins to preserve them for generations.

Skull Rock Trail in Joshua Tree

This trail is a 1.8-mile loop trail with an elevation gain of 120 feet, which takes about 30 minutes to complete The Skull Rock Nature Trail is located on Park Boulevard in the Joshua Tree National Park.

Its southwest end of the loop lies at the entrance of Jumbo Rocks campground. Placards aid in identifying plants and animals that make up the ecosystem.


Whichever area you choose to hike in, the Joshua Tree National Park, one thing is certain; you’ll fall in love with the beautiful desert scenery and everything else the region has to offer.