Summary: This is a wonderful walk.
I would give it five stars if not for the constant flow of people. At times, there are so many people on this loop trail, you might feel as if you were at Magic Mountain. If you want to avoid the rush, try to go during the middle of the week, early in the morning, or early in the evening, but you may still find loud, obnoxious people who think they are in the supermarket.
This is an interpretive trail that lets you know about the history, plant and animal life in Joshua Tree and around the dam.
The artificial lake is beautiful, and you may want to spend time just gazing into its reflection. You travel through the wonderland of rocks, and can try your hand at boulder hopping if you wish. Do try to be careful of the plant life. Lots of people come here, it doesn't take much to destroy.
The petroglyphs are neat, but a movie set decided they weren't bright enough and painted over them to make them crisper. Hooray for Hollywood!
Trailhead: Take the 10 freeway to the 62 - head North, pass through Morongo Valley, Yucca Valley and the town of Joshua Tree. You will see signs that say Joshua Tree National Park. Turn right on Park Avenue, there is a sign and a stoplight. Follow the road for 6 miles to the entrance gate. Pay your entrance fee and continue, drive for about ten miles, until you see the sign for Barker Dam, turn left and follow this road to the parking lot.
The trail begins through some wooden posts. Overuse and abuse has destroyed many of the plants in the area, please stay on the path.
The loop is easy to follow, and has little to no elevation loss or gain. (Lat:34.03071 Lon:-116.14626)
Trail Guides for Joshua Tree NP - Barker Dam Loop:
by Tom Sinestra and Ann Marie Brown (Avalon Travel)
Day Hikers Guide to Southern California
by John McKinney (Olympus Press)
On Foot in Joshua Tree National Park
by Patty A. Furbush (M.I. Adventure Publications)
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 Rob D. T210 on 11/23/2011
Great hike for beginners, trail courses through boulders, trees, and the highlight is the deep dam (when filled with water). Good for new hikers to get hooked into JT NP.
Reviewed by Mike on 9/18/2010
The petroglyphs are not too hard to find, and I agree that specific directions should not go out in this domain. But here's a clue for you hikers. Start at the "official" ones, follow the path from there to the parking area, and look at the rock until you see an area that feels right. Then explore close up to the rock. If you give it a good try, I bet you'll find some.
Reviewed by Paul the hiker on 2/9/2010
I been working for a college for the last 5 years. Students enroll in the class get to see this wonderful place. The years I been coming here is never been dull. The place has always has some interesting things to see. I would highly recommend this area to anyone
Reviewed by DB on 8/18/2009
Well, I was goig aroud exploring the area and I accidently stumbled upon an area where there was a neat little hole and some even better actual petroglyphs. It wasnt at parker dam but its pretty close. I was actually showed the secret spot by 2 locals. Its a very secret spot and I am going to keep a secret about the location. but it was awesome. If you find out the location please dont tell everyone.
Reviewed by Chris V. on 5/10/2009
I have been on this short hike a few times, last time was in December, 2008 with my 11 year old son. I like it best in the early morning or late afternoon, early evening when most of the people have gone. The crowds get a little annoying during the middle of the day. It is a great hike for young kids and older adults.
Reviewed by ss on 1/4/2009
The petroglyphs are not real at all they were painted by the Walt Disney Company... There are real petroglyphs some where in the park but the NPS is keeping them secret to protect them.. The is an old brocure from the NPS called Geology and Man that gives there exact location...I have been unsuccessful in locating that brochure..
Reviewed by Happiegrrrl on 11/12/2008
The Barker damn Loop is a wonderful hike for first-time visitors and park regulars as well. If you have time, expand your hike further in any direction, as there are many more interesting scenes and remnants of past civilization than a casual glance might uncover! I have written a bit about the wildflowers of the area on a website, and if you are interested - take a look! Here is the URL: http://www.squidoo.com/lensmaster/workshop/Joshua-Tree-Flowers
Reviewed by Gary on 4/8/2008
I was there in March 2008 I have some excellent photos of the lake, the petroglyphs and Joshua Tree National park on my website www.wonderofnaturephotos.com
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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