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Summary

  • Easily explore mystical Joshua Tree National Park on beginner-friendly hiking trails that are highly rated on AllTrails for their breathtaking views.
  • Marvel at rugged desert landscapes, iconic Joshua trees and fascinating rock formations on easy, family-friendly hikes in the park.
  • Plan a little adventure with short, easy hikes to places like Black Rock Canyon, Skull Rock and Barker Dam to get a glimpse of the park’s beauty.



Joshua Tree National Park is one of the most unusual places in California. It fascinates with its otherworldly rock formations, striking trees, wildlife that thrives in harsh conditions and an overall enchanting landscape. And, Ohwait until the sun rises or sets – then you will understand why Joshua Tree National Park is so famous, although deserts are generally disliked by people due to the scorching sun and other challenges that the harsh climate brings.

This 795,156-acre paradise is also a hiker’s paradise that can be explored through easy or challenging hikes that cater to hikers of all skill levels. While many of the most difficult hikes in Joshua Tree National Park are among the highly rated routes, All trailsBeginners, children or people with little time can explore the Mars-like landscapes on short and easy hikes.


Do you have less than an hour for the perfect introduction to a park with mystical qualities? If so, these are the easiest hikes in Joshua Tree National Park with breathtaking scenery.

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8th Black Rock Canyon Trail

AllTrails rating: 4.4 stars

Black Rock Canyon Trail is one of the easiest yet underrated hikes in Joshua Tree National Park for adventurers to explore when they want to escape the crowds. While this 3.5-mile trail doesn’t have the thousands of reviews that some easy hikes in the park have received, it takes adventurers on a sandy trail through the rugged Black Rock Canyon.

Hikers exploring the area beginning in late February will pass by cholla cacti, desert shrubs, juniper bushes, the park’s famous Joshua trees and blooming wildflowers. In addition to admiring the vegetation, adventurers can also enjoy magnificent views of the surrounding desert landscape and the mountains in the distance.


distance

3.5 miles

Difference in altitude

466 feet

Difficulty level

Simply

Time required for completion

1 hour 30 minutes

Dog friendly

NO

7 Skull Rock Trail

AllTrails rating: 4.5 stars


Skull Rock Trail is one of Joshua Tree’s easy and beautiful trails that is worth exploring year-round. Although Skull Rock Trail is rated easy, there is plenty to expect on it as it has narrow and steep sections that are fun for young children to climb.

Hikers can access the trail from Jumbo Rocks Campground and follow it through rock piles and desert canyons. Aside from exploring the desert landscape, this loop trail offers beautiful views of the Skull Rock formation, known for its hollowed-out eye sockets.

Because this is a popular trail, hikers should plan to start early and download an offline map due to unreliable cell reception in the park.


distance

1.7 miles

Difference in altitude

148 feet

Difficulty level

Simply

Time required for completion

1 hour

Dog friendly

NO

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6 Hiking trail to Barker Dam

AllTrails rating: 4.6 stars

Hikers can explore Joshua Tree’s unique rocky desert landscape and vegetation along the Barker Dam Trail. This easy loop trail meanders along a flat path that soon turns into monzogranite rocks, some with steps, and into a sandy desert gully.


The trail takes hikers past the park’s iconic Joshua trees, Mojave yuccas, pines and creosote bushes and leads to a fascinating rock art site and the historic Barker Dam. The trail also features interpretive panels that provide in-depth insight into the dam’s history and construction.

Once at Barker Dam, adventurers admire the surrounding flora before heading to a lookout point that offers a distant view of Mount San Gorgonio.

distance

1.3 miles

Difference in altitude

59 feet

Difficulty level

Simply

Time required for completion

25 minutes

Dog friendly

NO

5 Hiking trail to Arch Rock

AllTrails rating: 4.6 stars


The Arch Rock Trail is one of the park’s most popular and most hiked routes due to its mesmerizing views, short distance, and low elevation gain. Hikers can access the trail from the Twin Tanks parking area and hike it clockwise or counterclockwise, although most prefer the latter direction.

Visitors have excellent photo opportunities as they can capture Instagram-worthy shots of the famous Arch Rock granite rock formation. In addition to taking photos, hikers can explore cholla cacti and learn more about the area’s geological formations from interpretive signs.

Because there is a lack of shade along the trail, hikers should plan an earlier start during warmer months and carry plenty of water.

distance

1.2 miles

Difference in altitude

89 feet

Difficulty level

Simply

Time required for completion

25 minutes

Dog friendly

NO


4 Hiking trail to Hidden Valley

AllTrails rating: 4.7 stars

This trail is one of the easiest and most scenic trails in Joshua Tree National Park and is ideal for exploring with younger children. The trail is only 1 mile long, gains about 120 feet in elevation, and takes hikers through a valley surrounded by massive golden rock formations. One of the trail’s rock highlights is a picturesque cow-shaped formation overlooking the valley.

Along the way, hikers can also explore the park’s geology, biodiversity and cultural history through interpretive panels. Adventurers can discover the valley’s fascinating history, which dates back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when cattle thieves hid in the area.


distance

1.5km

Difference in altitude

118 feet

Difficulty level

Simply

Time required for completion

25 minutes

Dog friendly

NO

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3 Split Rock Loop

AllTrails rating: 4.7 stars

Despite its 2.4-mile length, the Split Rock Loop has a lot to offer, making it one of the easiest and most scenic hikes in Joshua Tree National Park. Hikers can discover everything from rock formations to native wildlife to stunning desert vegetation and landscapes.


The easy loop trail takes hikers through easily negotiated rocky terrain before crossing riverbeds and climbing scree fields while gaining elevations of over 276 feet. Explorers will also encounter oak, pine and Joshua tree trees, as well as flowering cacti and shrubs depending on the season.

If you hike along the trail from February to May, for example, you can experience a colorful display of flowers from plants such as the California indigo bush, the cushion foxtail cactus and the woolly daisy.

distance

2.4 miles

Difference in altitude

276 feet

Difficulty level

Simply

Time required for completion

1 hour

Dog friendly

NO


2 Cholla Cactus Garden Trail

AllTrails rating: 4.7 stars

This partially paved, 0.2-mile trail explores the Cholla Cactus Garden, one of the most scenic areas of Joshua Tree National Park. Although the trail is short, it is popular with nature lovers who want to get an up-close look at the teddy bear cholla cactus species.

Visitors can admire the stunning views of the cholla-dominated area while walking along a comfortable path that is accessible to walkers and wheelchair users. In addition to cholla, other desert plants also adorn the garden’s landscape, including the densely branched white ratanja, creosote bush and woody trixis.

However, adventurers should refrain from leaving the path so as not to disturb the garden and to avoid coming into contact with cholla spines, the removal of which can be painful.


distance

0.2 miles

Difference in altitude

10 foot

Difficulty level

Simply

Time required for completion

5 minutes

Dog friendly

NO

1 Hiking trail to Mastodon Peak

AllTrails rating: 4.7 stars

The Mastodon Peak Trail is an easy route that takes hikers about an hour and a half to complete. The trail climbs about 407 feet on its way to the foothills of Mastodon Peak. Nature lovers can start their hike from the Cottonwood Spring Oasis parking lot and follow the Lost Palms Oasis Trail before encountering the Mastodon Peak Loop.


Along the way, hikers can enjoy stunning views of the south side of Joshua Tree. For adventurers, the scenic adventure is perfect when they reach the base of the peak, while brave hikers climb to the top for a sense of achievement. As with most scenic trails in Joshua Tree National Park, there is no shade or cell reception on this route, so hikers must check the weather before setting out.

distance

2.4 miles

Difference in altitude

407 feet

Difficulty level

Simply

Time required for completion

1 hour 30 minutes

Dog friendly

NO

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