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Joshua Tree NP – Hidden Valley Nature Trail
What? : Hidden Valley
Nature Trail is a short, one mile, hiking loop inside a small valley surrounded
by enormous boulders. Here you can see Joshua trees and variety of other plants
and trees typical both to Mojave and Colorado deserts vegetation. This is one
of the park most popular hikes.
Where? : Located at the
heart of Joshua Tree park just off the main Park Blvd road. From the west park
entrance drive 9 miles and you will see the turn into the parking lot at your
right. Make sure not to confuse the parking lot with Hidden Valley Campground
that is on the other side of the main road.
When ? : Late fall, winter
and spring is the preferred time to visit the Mojave desert, summer is hot.
Due note 1: Water - Always take
more than what you think you need, this is desert and temperature can be hot,
in summer this is extremely hot environment. There is no water available in the
Due note 2: Pets are not
permitted on any trails in the park, except for the paved Oasis of Mara Trail.
Due note 3: There is limited
cell service in Joshua Tree National Park, so make sure to have a park map on
Due note 4: No gas service
in the park, there are many options near the north and west entrance to the
park, make sure you have enough gas when driving into the park especially if
you are driving down to Highway I-10.
Due note 5: Most of Joshua
Tree trails have little to no cover from the sun, make sure you are coming prepared
especially at the hot summer.
Due note 6: Please read
the Safety Tips section in my
main park and visit planning blog.
Due note 7: Joshua Tree
National Park has 24 access; you can travel in the park at night or before
Due note 8: At winter evenings
and nights it can be windy and cold, come with the right clothing.
My thoughts: Although crowded
this trail is highly recommended, many large boulders and rock cliffs with climbers,
Joshua Trees, easy hike, nice scenery and even shade from the sun in some
The 1-mile easy
loop trail begins at the Hidden Valley Picnic Area.
Known as one of
the park’s best trails, it introduces visitors to the iconic geology, huge
boulders and you can find here many of the flora that Joshua Tree Park is known
You will start
your hike with a short uphill section between huge boulders from both sides. In
1936, just months before President Franklin Roosevelt established the Joshua
Tree National Monument, prospector and rancher Bill Keys blasted the opening to
the Hidden Valley to allow his cows get into, this is where the trail enters
Once I pass the
short climb and got into the valley I chose to turn left and do the loop clockwise,
doing it in the other direction is also good.
In the valley you
will see many rock walls that attract rock climbers but also large boulders
that you can explore.
There are many interesting reading information plaques
along the trail with explanations about the rocks and plants.
Summary: Although only
one mile in length it took me one hour to complete, many things to see and explore,
I found myself taking here many pictures…
are not actual trees, but members of the yucca family. Joshua trees only grow
in the Mojave Desert. The Mormons who named the trees thought their
outstretched branches resembled Joshua raising his arms. These trees are
confined to altitude rage of about 2,500-6,000 feet above sea level, so they
can’t grow in lower valleys or high mountain slopes, and they do need sandy
soil to flourish.
Not so far from
Hidden Valley Nature Trail you can find one of the most beautiful forest of Joshua
Trees in the park.
The Joshua Trees
Forest is spreading on both sides of the park main road from Hidden Valley
south to Cap Rock junction. There are no official parking lots, but you can
find side-road places to park safely on this 1.7-mile-long section.
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