Summary: Joshua Tree is no hiker's paradise(not much shade, not much water, not much wildlife), but there are some great trails and vistas in the park. The park itself is splendid and beautiful, don't get me wrong, but if the day gets hot, and you don't have much water, be thankful most of the trails here are short.
This trail is a pretty good, but short, climb. It gets very steep in places. I listed it as moderate, but anyone with hiking ability should find it pretty easy, because of the low elevation, and shortness of the trip. I made it up and back in under two hours, and that what even spending 15-20 minutes on the windy top.
The top affords a 360' view of the park, and the towering sentinels of San Gorgonio and San Jacinto loom to the West.
If you are in Joshua Tree and have a few hours, this one is well worth your time.
Trailhead: Take the 10 towards Palm Springs from whatever direction you are coming from. You will need to exit on the 62 heading North. Follow the 62 through the desert towns of Morongo, Yucca Valley, and into Joshua Tree. You will see signs telling you how far the West entrance is. Turn right on Park and follow it to the entrance gate where you pay National Park Fees of $10 - good for one week starting on that day.
From there drive about 12 miles to Sheep's Pass Group Campground. It says reservations required, but there is plenty of trailhead parking. From there follow the well-graded trail around the mountain until you begin your climb upward. (Lat:33.9864 Lon:-116.13457)
Trail Guides for Joshua Tree NP - Ryan Mountain:
Day Hikers Guide to Southern California
by John McKinney (Olympus Press)
by Tom Sinestra and Ann Marie Brown (Avalon Travel)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Joshua Tree National Park (760)367-5500
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Allen Riedel, who has posted 123 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 3 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Younglynn on 5/5/2013
I have been at Joshua Tree several times only fall and winter. First time we went in spring Sun 28, Mon 29. We are lucky temperature during the day below 85 and there were some breath. The distance at the trial head said 3 miles myself and our friends agree that was more than 3. I am glad to check this website to confirmed.The trial steep but well maintain. The cactus flower was spectacular, we had to stop take pictures several time. This is the best time of the year to visit Joshua Tree. At Cholla's garden, we saw every stages of flowers from budding to fruits. There no water at Barker's dam but some orange colors of cactus made up for it.
Reviewed by Armand on 10/3/2010
I did already several hikes in southern California. But this was the best hike I did. (good hike with an amazing 360 view at the top)
Reviewed by John Y. on 10/23/2009
Hiked on Oct. 10, 2009. Started at 11 am and reached the top before noon fairly easily. Temps were in the mid 80s, but it was breezy. Used up less than 500 mL of water going up and down. View at the top was cool, but I think the desert landscape looks better from up close. Probably will hike elsewhere next time, since it was pretty short and not as spectacular as I hoped.
Reviewed by David on 8/3/2009
I did this just last weekend (August), at around 4 PM. It was 98-105 degrees and no shade up the trail. I drank all 4 liters of water that I brought up, but MAN was it worth it. The views were spectacular, and the weather was amazingly clear without a cloud in sight. If you're in shape the hike isn't too bad, but if you're not be be prepared to take some short breaks in the sunshine. I purposefully saved this until late in the afternoon because I knew it would be hot earlier in the day. It's nice and cool at the summit, though, which provided a nice respite.
Reviewed by Bahamut on 2/7/2009
Nice Hike With Great 360 veiws at the top. I liked the pile of rocks that people have accumulated at the top.
Reviewed by David on 6/29/2008
Did this with whole family, had 3 year old on my back. 10 year old and 7 year old did fine. It was quite cold on the top so didn't spend much time up there. Joshua Tree is great for hiking but do it in March and latest April.
Reviewed by Mike & Suz on 1/27/2008
We hiked this on January 13, 2008. The weather was perfect - no wind, plenty of sun, temps around 68, clear skies. Started from the parking area directly below; took a maximum of 1.5 hours to get to the top. Trail was strenuous at times, lots of "steps" and rocky but our 12 year old handled it just fine. View at top was amazing in all directions!
Reviewed by nba on 1/1/2008
This was my 4 year old son's first hike. Mom took him out for New Years Day while I was in Iraq.
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