Hiking in Joshua Tree NP – Part 1

Twentynine Palms, CA

We booked a site at Twentynine Palms RV Resort for a week to be near one of the main entrances to Joshua Tree NP.  Since we had some time to kill before we arrive in San Diego, so we decided to spend some of it exploring parts of the national park we missed during previous visits.

Twentynine Palms RV Resort

The nimble hiker worked her magic and planned a number of great hikes for us during our stay.  The first hike was a seven mile out and back trip to Willow Hole, a small oasis set inside an area known as the Wonderland of Rocks.

Trailhead for the Boy Scout Trail

The hike begins on a trail known as the Boy Scout Trail.  After a bit over a mile through the desert the trail splits, with the Boy Scout Trail continuing to the north and the trail to Willow Hole breaking off to the right.

After another mile across the flat desert the trail moves into a sandy wash.

Interesting result of wind erosion

Once in the rocks the scenery became a bit more interesting.

Heading into the willows

It became a bit of a challenge to keep going as we moved deeper into the rocks and made our way under and between some large boulders.

OK, duck your head

Made it!

A tight squeeze

It seems that we’ve run out of trail

Lunch with a view

Color in the canyon

Joshua Trees can get pretty tall

The next day we drove to the Split Rock parking area to hike the two mile loop trail.

Split Rock Loop Trailhead

It’s pretty clear where the trail gets its name.

The loop is a very interesting easy hike through some beautiful rock formations.

As we approached the end of the trail we spied a rock climber splayed on the face of a rock formation near the trail.

Looks like he made it to the top

We returned to the Jeep and drove a few miles out the Desert Queen Mine Road to visit the site of an old gold mine.

Building remains near the mine

Looking across a wash we could see a pile of tailings taken out of one of the shafts and the openings of two mines covered with screen by the Parks Service.

One of the covered mine shafts

Abandoned equipment

One shaft had no screen cover

But there was one a few feet from the entrance

On our way back to the motorhome we passed one of the most popular and well-known rock formations in this park, Skull Rock.

We have more areas to explore during the rest of the week, but we’ll save them for the next blog.  Stay tuned for more rocks in Part 2.

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14 Responses to Hiking in Joshua Tree NP – Part 1

  1. Quite an adventure with unique settings..

  2. exploRVistas says:

    Wow…that abandoned equipment took me down memory lane! The furniture manufacturing firm I was managing had two of those air compressors…the contraption with the big flywheels. We used those until we moved to our new plant in 2007.

    We missed Joshua Tree on our way through last time…it is definitely on our list! 🙂

  3. Gay says:

    Another spot on our list to visit. Awesome rocks! And it’s so much fun exploring those old mines.

  4. Debbie L says:

    Another post that makes us drool! Our kind of hike. One day….

  5. LuAnn says:

    You two always find the coolest hikes. Looking forward to seeing you both soon!

  6. pmbweaver says:

    Beautiful!!! Not only was that an awesome hike but a great workout…up/down/over/under….work those abs. LOL

  7. Jim and Barb says:

    Very cool rock formations and it looked like a tight squeeze in a few spots. There certainly is some great hiking in that area!

  8. geogypsy2u says:

    I haven’t hiked the Boy Scout trail. There are so many options in Joshua Tree. I like to just wander off onto the boulders, and try not to get lost.

  9. Jeff Pierce says:

    The Wonderland of Rocks is an easy place to get disoriented. But a fun place to explore, looks like you a nice day for a fun outing.

  10. I sure love exploring Joshua Tree! What is it about giant boulders that just grabs the imagination and sucks us right in!?!?!

  11. Your post recalled memories. We worKamped at Joshua Tree NP and were there for Thanksgiving 2012. I love that desert, especially in the winter. Thanks for awakening that experience.
    Holidays Far From Home

  12. Laurel says:

    Joshua Tree is still one of our all-time favorite places. The hiking is so much fun and the landscape is so beautiful. We’ve never hiked the Split Rock Trail — what a cool rock formation! It looks like a big purse that you could open up. Skull Rock always creeps me out, but I like hiking the trails there in Jumbo Rocks.

  13. Sherry says:

    What fabulous rocks. Love the tight squeeze picture and the one of the climber really shows the scale. You continue to show me spots I then want to see in oerson, thanks!

  14. Love the Joshua Trees! Sometimes when rocks are names I just can’t see it–that wasn’t the case with your “skull rock!”

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