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The Best Hikes in Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree National Park is one of California’s most famous National Parks, thanks to the unique look of its namesake, the Joshua tree.

But it’s not simply a case of rocking up and getting out of your car to snap a photo.

Joshua Tree is all about getting out into nature and hitting up a hiking trail to really get a feel for this awesome natural paradise.

Sound good to you?

If that’s a yes, then you’ll be happy to know that I’ve come up with a list of the best Joshua Tree National Park Hikes. These are my favorites, and you don’t have to walk miles and miles to have an awesome time here!

The Best Hikes in Joshua Tree

Lost Palms Oasis Trail

Distance: 7.2 miles

Estimated time: 3 hours 15 minutes

The clue is in the name with the Lost Palms Oasis Trail—it’s a relatively easy loop trail located on the east side of the national park that goes to Lost Palm Oasis.

All you have to do is follow easily visible markers over fairly even terrain, which then runs down into the oasis itself—complete with palm trees, of course.

Best Hikes in Joshua Tree, by Travel Blogger What The Fab

Fortynine Palms Oasis Trail

Distance: 3 miles

Estimated time: 1 hour 30 minutes

A pretty easy three-mile round trip, the Fortynine Palms Oasis Trail leads to a secluded spot in the north of Joshua Tree National Park. Much of the trail is around 300 feet in elevation, which takes you through desert scenery (cue panoramic views).

Once you’re at the Fortynine Palms Oasis, you’ll be able to spot the spring—making it a true oasis. It’s a quiet trail, and you won’t have to pay the park entry fee to embark on this one.

Best Hikes in Joshua Tree, by Travel Blogger What The Fab

High Valley Nature Trail

Distance: 1.35 miles

Estimated time: 45 minutes

A great option if you want to get out into the park to see some of those Joshua trees but also work up a sweat in the process, the High Valley Nature Trail is an easy option.

A loop trail that starts near to Black Rock Campground (where you can get information and/or a guide), it passes across a desert ridge—complete with views over Yucca Valley and out to the San Gorgonio Mountains.

Hidden Valley Nature Trail

Distance: 1 mile

Estimated time: 30 minutes

Being a simple one-mile round trip makes the Hidden Valley Nature Trail a very easy hike and a great way to soak up some of the stunning nature in Joshua Tree National Park.

Hike past rock formations, clamber around huge boulders, and enjoy the environment here, squeezing through gaps in rocks and embracing your inner adventurer. Signs along the way tell you about the plants and habitats you’re strolling through.

Ryan Mountain Trail

Distance: 3 miles

Estimated time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Though the Ryan Mountain Trail may be short, the elevation is around 1,050 feet – mainly uphill along a dirt track with loads of steps. If that doesn’t sound fun to you, there are other hikes, of course.

But you do get rewarded with AWESOME views!

To get there, take Park Boulevard and take the turning for Ryan Mountain. There’s a parking area where you can head off. Go prepared; there’s not a lot of shade.

Best Hikes in Joshua Tree, by Travel Blogger What The Fab

Cholla Cactus Garden

Distance: 0.25 miles

Estimated time: 15 minutes

This one’s a piece of cake. Cholla Cactus Garden is what it sounds like—a garden (sort of) filled with Cholla cacti.

Adorably, these have been nicknamed Teddy Bear cacti, because they look pretty fuzzy.

If you’ve got children with you, this one is a good way to experience Joshua Tree National Park without worrying too much about the heat. Good also if you’re strapped for time.

Barker Dam

Distance: 1.5 mile

Estimated time: 45 minutes

The Barker Dam Loop is appropriate for hikers of all different abilities—it’s quite easy to hike along the well-marked trails.

The best time of year to tackle this particular hike is winter or spring, as the water all but disappears in the height of summer.

It’s actually pretty strange to see all that water in such a dry desert landscape, but it makes for a relaxing spot—and a cool place to snap some photos of your travels, too.

Keys View Road Loop

Distance: 1.1 miles

Estimated time: 30 minutes

Close to Thousand Palms, the Keys View Road Loop is a great way to really get into the national park.

A simple few miles round trip, it’s a short loop with amazing views year-round. You’ll be hiking through wildflowers in late spring, or strolling alongside scatterings of snow on the ground in January.

One of the best things about this hike in Joshua Tree National Park is the scenery; you can actually get a clear view of the San Andreas Fault in the valley below, with the San Jacinto Mountains and the San Rosa Mountains in the distance.

Warren Peak

Distance: 5.5 miles

Estimated time: 3 hours

If you choose to hike Warren Peak in the western portion of the national park, note that the summit is a lofty 5,103 feet.

You’ll need to be a pretty fit hiker to tackle this trail and bring appropriate gear with you (including plenty of water, obviously).

The views, however, after all that hard work are simply stunning.

Lost Horse Mine

Distance: 4 miles

Estimated time: 2 hours

Head out to Lost Horse Mine, a former mill and mining operation that makes for some pretty weird scenery. It’s been fenced off, though, so no urban exploration!

The hike itself is a gentle upward climb through Yucca and Joshua trees along the trail. It is best, I would say, in the wildflower season.

Best Hikes in Joshua Tree, by Travel Blogger What The Fab

Arch Rock Trail

Distance: 1.3 miles

Estimated time: 30 minutes

The Arch Rock Trail is a pretty easy trail and a good way to soak up some pretty cool rock formations, particularly the Arch Rock itself.

A relatively easy hike that begins at White Tank Campground, it runs through desert scenery and is a family-friendly outing that’s good for young and old alike.


You don’t have to be a seasoned hiker to enjoy what Joshua Tree National Park has to offer. With trails ranging from moderate to downright easy, there are tons of ways to experience this awesome national park.

Tag me in your Insta pics and stories (I’m @wtfab BTW) to remind me to plan a trip to Joshua Tree again sometime!!

Heading to the desert? Check out my other Joshua Tree and Palm Springs content:

The Best Joshua Tree Airbnbs
The Best Day Trips from Palm Springs
Palm Springs Itinerary
Dessert X, Palm Springs

FAQs

What is the best time to visit Joshua Tree National Park?

The best time to visit Joshua Tree National Park is from March to May or October to November.

Can you do Joshua Tree in a day?

Yes, you can definitely explore a lot of what Joshua Tree has to offer in a day! However, it is recommended to spend at least 2 to 3 days in Joshua Tree.

Is Joshua Tree safe at night?

Yes, Joshua Tree is very safe at night! The park is also patrolled at night!

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