Most visitors to the Hole-in-the-Wall area hike the short Rings Loop Trail and not much else. But if you've got the time and you're prepared for the weather, taking a walk around Barber Peak is an incredible opportunity to take in the Mojave Desert at its finest. This newest addition to the trail system at the Mojave National Preserve encircles Barber Peak, a massive mound of rock with dramatic cliffs and intriguing rock formations that change at every angle.
You can start the loop from the campground or from the road behind the Information Center at Hole-in-the-Wall. Walk counterclockwise and enter a world dominated by cactus, sand and rock. But the seemingly barren desert is brimming with life. During the daytime, lizards sun themselves on the rocks while rabbits dart from one shady spot to the next. Jays and wrens perch precariously atop yucca and cactus, searching the landscape for food. Raptors and crows soar overhead.
The trail gently gains and loses elevation as it circles around the peak. You'll walk through sections of dry, dusty rocks with little vegetation as well as lush gardens of cacti and wildflowers.
As you reach the end of the loop, the trail merges with the Rings Loop. As you enter Banshee Canyon you'll finally get some shade and enjoy a quick scamper up through a narrow slot, assisted by metal rings attached to the rock.