Joshua Tree NP – Hiking Old Lost Horse Road


What? :

This easy 3-miles hike will take you into one of the most beautiful forests of Joshua Trees in the park.

The Joshua Trees Forest in this valley is spreading on both sides of the park main road from Hidden Valley south to Cap Rock junction.



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 Hidden Valley 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 visit and 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 it located in the heart of the park near the most crowded trails (Hidden Valley) this trail is not overcrowded, and it is highly recommended.

This is flat easy hike and because this is out and back you can also hike shorter or longer distance.

This valley in the park probably have the most impressive Joshua Tree Forest I saw in all my Mojave Desert trips (and I did a lot of them…).



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.



The visit:


The 2.9-mile easy and flat out and back trail begins at the Hidden Valley Picnic Area.

You need to walk to the far side of the loop where there are picnic tables, here at the end of the short road you will see the trail starting point.


This is one of the park’s best trails to view up-close the large Joshua Tree Forest in the middle of the park.


The trail is clear, and you can’t get lost, heading in straight line southwest into the valley.

You can enjoy the flat trail and the open view of the Joshua Tree Forest to one side and the bolder hills to the other side of the trail.

After 0.4 mile you will reach the junction with Old Lost Horse Road at the dry creek, here you need to turn left.

The trail follow the dry creek in a straight line for another mile until it reaches the park road.


Here I turned around and walk back the same way I came.


You can also cross the road and use a connecting trail to reach Echo Tee Trail, turning left and walk all the way to the campground and from there back to Hidden Valley trail Head.









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