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!
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.
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
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
Rings Loop Trail:
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.
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.
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.
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
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 …