Mojave National Preserve – Hole-in-the-Wall


What? : The Hole-in-the-Wall site is one of the main park nature attractions. Here there is a visitor center, campground and one of the most popular short hikes in Mojave, the 1-mile Rings Trail is a must hike!


Related blogs:

Mojave National Preserve – Drive from Cima Rd to Hole-in-the-Wall

Mojave National Preserve – 4x4 Drive from Essex Road to Kelso Dunes

Mojave National Preserve – Kelso Dunes

Mojave National Preserve – visit planning, 2 days trip itinerary

Mojave National Preserve – Visit Planning


Where? : Take exit 100 on Highway I-40 into Essex R., drive 9.7 miles north, turn right into Black Canyon Rd, keep driving for another 9.7 miles until you will see the entrance to the park site on your left. Enter left and drive 0.3 mile to the parking lot near the small visitor center.

If you are coming from I-15 and Cima dome area, and dirt road driving conditions are good, then I do recommend to drive the dirt road access (see my blog), it is much shorter and add fun to your trip.

Google Map Link


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.


Due note 2: Drive with enough fuel, no gas station in Mojave National Preserve


Due note 3: No cellular reception in Mojave National Preserve (you may have receptions near the main Highways). If you are using cellular map with GPS make sure you download the map in advance where you have cell reception (Wi-Fi connectivity is preferred).


Due note 4: Only few paved roads cross the Mojave Desert, most main dirt roads are in good conditions, but some may be impossible to pass after heavy rain. There are many off-road, 4x4 only trails, make sure you know what you are doing and what your car can handle safely.


Due note 5: You can drive to Hole-in-the-Wall on paved road, no need to drive on dirt road if you do not want to do this trip, see: Hall in the wall Blog.


Due note 6: No fee or permit is required to hike Hole-in-the-Wall Rings Trail.


Due note 7: You can find water and restrooms services in this park as well as day use picnic area and night campground.


Due note 8: The small visitor center was close when I visit this place during Jan 2022.


Due note 9: During winter month, bring with you few warm cloths, you may get warm during the day and the hike, but you will need them once the sun is going down in a cold evening.


My thoughts: It was already after mid-day when I arrived at the Hole-in-the-Wall visitor center, and I still wanted to drive to Kelso Dunes and be there few hours before the early winter sunset. I did not have the time to really explore all the things you can do here. I mostly did the 1-mile Rings Loop Trail, and overall spend here only one hour.


The visit:


Rings Loop Trail:

Except Kelso Dunes This is probably the most popular trail in the park.

It is 1-mile round-trip that start at Hole-in-the-Wall Information Center parking area.

I recommend doing this trail clockwise, better to start at the open & expose section of the hike and finish in the canyon section. Taking the dry waterfall climbing upward, with the help of the metal rings it is relatively easy climb.


From the parking lot find the trail heading east back to the main access road direction.

The trail follows the hillside and about ¼ mile along the trail, look for a sign near large boulders with faint petroglyphs to your right.

After keep hiking for another half mile circling the cliffs as you enter Banshee Canyon.

The walls of the canyon cliff are interesting and filled with many holes.

When approaching it is not so clear how the trail pass through the cliff walls. You will find that the trail enters the cliffs in a narrow section and climb out of Banshee Canyon to other side where there near the park picnic area.

Along to 2 vertical climbs you will use the help of fixed metal rings mounted into the rock. This is not a difficult climb and can be done by also kids, very yond one may need some adult help but I’m sure they will enjoy it.

From here, you can walk to the viewing point on your right (not a lot to see) and then return to the Information Center parking on a short dirt road.


Barber Peak Loop Trail (I did not hike this one):

This is 6-mile loop. This trail showcases the Mojave’s dramatic geology. One mile north of Hole-in-the-Wall Campground, a viewpoint offers scenic vistas in all directions.


Another long hike is Mid Hills to Hole-in-the-Wall Trail:

This is 8 miles one-way and better be done downhill from Mid Hills campground to Hall in the Wall visitor center. For that you must have 2 cars, leave one at the end point and one at your starting point …