Joshua Tree Adventure Guide: Longer Hikes

Where to stay, what to do, on an adventure through the desert!

Arch Rock:

It’s on the postcards, so it must be worth the hike, right?  Worth the quick hike to go see it, although not the most spectacular hike in the park.  As a fair warning, your pictures will not turn out as nicely as the postcards (see below for evidence) and you will potentially be fighting selfie-taking crowds to get a good view.  Interesting rock formations along the way, and a relatively easy hike.  This took us about an hour total, I think kids could do this one without much of a problem.

AllTrails Link for more Info: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/arch-rock-nature-trail

Ryan Mountain Trail:

This fit the classic California definition of a hike, as in climb straight up a mountain, enjoy the view, climb back down.  Really pretty scenery and good elevation gain along the way, so you feel like you’re getting a good workout but get a nice reward at the top for your efforts.  About 3 miles total, and took us about 2-3 hours to do.  Very nice, definitely worth it for the views!

AllTrails Link for more Info: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/ryan-mountain-trail

Willow Hole:

This is the longest hike we did, about 6-7 miles total.  The views at the beginning are absolutely spectacular, including a walk through a Joshua Tree forest, lots of cool rock formations, and the snow-capped mountains in the distance.  In addition, great cactus viewing along the way, and fun spots where you can climb on the rocks (and do more serious rock-climbing if that’s what you’re into).  After the Joshua Tree portion, the hike descends into being more generally desert, and the trail eventually leads to a small stream with water (and ice when we were there), as well as a small willow tree grove.  Very pretty hike and got lots of cool pictures along the way, so a solid adventure.  This one took us 3-4 hours.

AllTrails Link for more Info: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/willow-hole-trail

49 Palms Oasis:

Probably my favorite hike of the trip.  Good mix of uphill/downhill along the way, and hiking though desert scenery and overlooking the town of Joshua Tree is pretty cool.  You can see the palm oasis about halfway in, and once you get there, you can relax in the cool shade and experience the oasis.  It’s very cool to see a grove of palm trees rising out of the complete desert landscape, so go check it out!  Very picturesque, took us about 2 hours.

Bonus for this one: it’s free!  No entrance fee to the National Park needed to access it.

AllTrails Link for more Info: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/trail/us/california/fortynine-palms-trail

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