10 Best Hikes in Joshua Tree National Park

Hidden Valley is one of the best hiking trails in Joshua Tree

Want to discover the beauty that lies in one of California’s best National Parks? Here are the best hikes in Joshua tree National Park you’ll enjoy!

Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. 

The wonders of Joshua Tree National Park are no wonders. Every year, thousands of people journey from all over the world to hike, climb stunning rock formations, or camp under a blanket of stars.

Between its vast desert, striking rock formations, and unique plant life, Joshua Tree somehow manages to feel like both an alien planet or a movie set.

And the best way to experience its incredible beauty is with your trekking shoes.

Rock formations in Joshua tree NP

If you’re wondering how to pick the right hiking path, here’s a list of the top 10 hikes in Joshua Tree which is one of the most loved California’s National Parks.

At the end of the day, your feet will be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling!

Best Hikes in Joshua Tree National Park

Are you planning to go hiking in Joshua tree National park? This guide will show you the best hikes in Joshua tree not to miss. From easy, moderate, to challenging hikes, here are the best Joshua Tree trails.

From easy, moderate to challenging, here are the best trails for hiking in Joshua Tree National Park.

1. Mastodon Peak

Mastodon Peak is an easy 4-mile roundtrip hike that rewards you with great views over Joshua Tree National Park.

Mastodon Peak is one of the best hikes in Joshua Tree

If you’re coming from the Palm Spring area, this is definitely a hiking trail you must put on your bucket list!

Plus, on the way back, there is also an old mine you can visit where you can still see a part of a mineshaft and some of the ancient instruments that used to be there.

2. Cholla Cactus Gardens

There are many different types of cactus in Joshua Tree, but the cholla cactus is by far the most common.

Cholla Cactus Gardens is one of the best hiking trails in Joshua Tree

There’s a short trail you can take to get up close to some of the beautiful cholla. But be very careful because they have been known as “jumping cactus” for a reason! 

Related post: Best National Parks in the US

3. Ryan Mountain 

Although it’s not the highest mountain in Joshua Tree, Ryan Mountain is the most prominent and is located right in the park’s center.

Ryan Mountain is one of the best hikes in Joshua Tree

This short but steep Joshua tree trail really gets your heart beating fast. It goes up the entire way but is totally worth the effort with its amazing views of the rock formations and Joshua Tree scenery.

Plus, it offers some fantastic sunset views that you can enjoy as well as long as you remember to pack a flashlight for the way down!

4. Barker Dam

Barker Dam is one of the most popular Joshua tree hiking trails and is an easy-to-access hike.

There are only a few trails in the park that offer water, and Barker Dam is one of them. The trail takes you to a historic dam from the early 1900s. 

Barker Dam is one of the best hikes in Joshua Tree
Barker Dam is one of the best hikes in Joshua Tree

If you have the chance to visit during springtime, when there’s a lot of water, you’ll enjoy stunning natural reflections.

If you only have a short amount of time to spend exploring Joshua Tree National Park, this is a great trail to visit. It will let you see some of the Joshua Tree’s best features, as well as all the crazy rock formations.

Related post: Where to stay in Joshua Tree National Park – Best hotels, Camping & Glamping.

5. Wall Street Mill

The wall Street Mill hike is 2 miles round trip, and while you’re on your way, you can snap some cool pics of rusted, abandoned old cars.

Wall Street Mill is one of the best Joshua tree trails to hike

Though you can’t enter it due to its classification as a National Historical Monument, that doesn’t mean that you don’t get the chance to explore and view its beauty up close.

Plus, it’s a short hike in Joshua Tree National Park and one of the best hiking trails.

6. Keys Desert Queen Ranch

Keys Desert Queen Ranch dates back from the early 1900s and is only accessible through organized tours which usually take place on the weekend and sell out fast.

Keys Desert Queen Ranch is one of the best Joshua tree trails to hike

The guide will take you past a locked gate and then walk you around the property – they’ll tell you lots of historical anecdotes. Definitely worth a try!

7. Hidden Valley

Hidden Valley is one of the really popular hikes in Joshua Tree National Park, and it’s easy to see why.

Not only will Hidden Valley give you beautiful views of the valley below, but it’s also a short 1/1.5 mile walk from the parking lot.

Hidden Valley is one of the best hiking trails in Joshua Tree

It’s one of those places that takes us back to the cowboys days when smugglers would trade goods in the desert campgrounds.

Lose yourself in this immense beauty and just wander around and explore. You will love admiring all the rocks formations and watching the sunset.

8. Lost Horse Mine 

Lost Horse Mine is one of the longest Joshua Tree hikes, but it’s also one of the most scenics.

The hike takes you to the best-preserved stamp mill in the park, and the 4 miles round trip rolls in gentle inclines. This isn’t a hike to do in summer, but it’s definitely a fantastic winter experience.

Lost Horse Mine is one of the best Joshua tree trails to hike

The views are great, but be careful not to get too close to it as the mine is completely enclosed in a gate.

If you’re up for it, you can take a walk and reach the hill just behind for breathtaking views of the entire park.

9. Keys View 

Keys Viewpoint is a popular hiking spot that gives you the best view of the Coachella Valley and Palm Springs.

Keys View is one of the best Joshua tree trails to hike

As the sun sets behind the mountains, the scenery is just amazing, but because of the beauty of this place, it can fill up really fast.

A short little path leads to a bench overlooking this beautiful area, and it’s an incredible 15 to 20 minutes break from the hike!

10. Geology tour Road

Geology Tour Road requires you to have a 4X4 car, but the 18 miles of sand and gravel is relatively easy for those who are not familiar with off-roading.

Geology tour Road is one of the best hikes in Joshua Tree
Geology tour Road is one of the best hikes in Joshua Tree

Along the way, you also get to experience the backcountry of Joshua Tree National Park with its incredible views, away from the crowd.



Sara Rodríguez

A passionate traveler with a mission: Help you plan your next trip easily and enjoy it to the fullest.

In this travel blog you will find everything you need to get inspired and organize your next adventure. Read more about my story here.

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