Hidden Valley Hike - Joshua Tree National Park

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Only having one day at Joshua Tree National Park, I wanted to make a point to see as much as possible in the short amount of time. The first hike that I did was the 49 Palms Oasis hike. For an in depth look at that gorgeous trail check out the blog A Desert Oasis.

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The next stop was the popular Hidden Valley Trail. This hike is a popular one for many reasons, it's surrounded by picnic areas and a nearby campground, it's right off the main road, it's only a one mile loop, and it's a gorgeous nature walk that is well maintained and easy for all levels.

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To get to the trailhead for Hidden Valley, turn right off of park road coming from Joshua Tree, and you'll shortly come to a large parking lot and picnic area. The trail is easily accessible through a rock opening. After following along for a few meters, the trail splits. Being a loop, you can pick either way to start. Along the trail there are informative signs talking about the wildlife and landscape of Hidden Valley and all of Joshua Tree.

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This trail is also incredibly popular with rock climbers and recreational scramblers as I'll call them. The entire loop is surrounded by boulders of every shape and size so its a great place to practice climbing around or head to a steeper rock face to do some roped climbs.

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I did manage to lose the trail once because the dirt and brush make many areas look like a trail. Luckily it's a heavily populated trail with people coming in both directions and it's a valley surrounded by boulders so it's hard to get off the trail for long. The loop takes between 30-45 minutes or longer if you explore the boulders. It's a great introduction to what Joshua Tree has to offer or finish your day off with a quick stroll. Watch the whole episode with all three hikes1

https://youtu.be/F20yopacrlw

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WHAT TO KNOW:

  • Location: Joshua Tree National Park, Joshua Tree California

  • Trailhead: From Joshua Tree, turn right from Park Blvd into the Hidden Valley Parking Lot. From the Oasis Visitor Center, take a left from Park Blvd.

  • Entrance Fee: An entrance fee is required. $20 covers 7 days. $30 for an annual pass. $10 bicycle or entrance on foot.

  • Distance: 1 mile loop

  • Time: 30-45 minutes. Longer if you plan to climb the boulders and explore.

  • Elevation: 52' each way

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Best Time to Hike: A very popular hike that can be done year-round. Summers can be hot and crowded. Spring and Fall midweek are the best times for fewer crowds.

  • What to Bring: Water. While this is a short hike, the desert still gets very hot with little to no shade. Sunscreen or a hat are also strongly recommended. A snack or lunch to enjoy at the picnic tables.

  • NEED TO KNOW: Rattlesnakes are popular in the desert and for the most part harmless when left alone. Keep a safe distance and stay on the trail. No pets are allowed.