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.


Related blogs:

Joshua Tree National Park – Visit planning

Joshua Tree NP – Keys View

Joshua Tree NP – Geology Road (4x4 drive)

Joshua Tree NP – Barker Dam Nature Trail

Joshua Tree NP – Arch Rock Nature Trail

Joshua Tree NP –Cholla Cactus Garden Trail


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.

Google Map Link

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 park.


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 hand.


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 sunrise.


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 sections.

The visit:

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 for.


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 the valley.


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…

Highly recommended hike.

Joshua Trees:

Joshua trees 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.