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Cap Rock Nature Trail

Joshua Tree National Park

Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, California

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Cap Rock Nature Trail

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  • The Cap Rock Nature Loop is short, accessible walk in Joshua Tree National Park.- Cap Rock Nature Trail
  • View from the begining of Cap Rock Nature Trail.- Cap Rock Nature Trail
  • Rock piles and Joshua Trees along the Cap Rock Nature Trail.- Cap Rock Nature Trail
  • Bench along the Cap Rock Nature Trail.- Cap Rock Nature Trail
  • The distinctive rock formations of Joshua Tree National Park.- Cap Rock Nature Trail
  • Beaver tail cactus.- Cap Rock Nature Trail
  • The Cap Rock Nature Trail winding between boulders.- Cap Rock Nature Trail
  • View from the Cap Rock Nature Trail.- Cap Rock Nature Trail
  • Joshua Tree.- Cap Rock Nature Trail
  • Views from the Cap Rock Nature Trail.- Cap Rock Nature Trail
  • The distinctive rock formations of Joshua Tree National Park.- Cap Rock Nature Trail
  • Desert spiny lizard.- Cap Rock Nature Trail
  • The Milky Way viewed from Joshua Tree National Park.- Cap Rock Nature Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Bouldering. Educational signs along the trail. Wheelchair accessible.
Cons: 
Very hot during the summer.
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Region:
Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
100.00 ft (30.48 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Total Distance: 
0.30 mi (0.48 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,240.00 ft (1,292.35 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Sponsored Contributor

Cap Rock Nature Trail is a 0.3-mile loop that winds through rock formations in Joshua Tree National Park. Signs along the path explain the geology and flora of the region.

Along the trail you may notice seemingly random stacks and piles of boulders. The rock piles in Joshua Tree began underground; magma cooling into granite rose toward the earth's surface and into the cracks of the existing rock (the Pinto Gneiss formation). Groundwater filtered downward into the cracks, and centuries of erosion sculpted the rocks into their rounder shapes. Erosion on the surface from flash floods, wind, and rain wore the earth down around these already fully-formed piles.

Although the desert may seem empty at first sight, it is home to many unique species. For example, Joshua Trees are only found in parts of California, Nevada, and Arizona. Other plants found in the region include peachthorne, desert almonds, Mormon tea, mojave yucca, juniper, and a variety of annual flowers. Animals include bighorn sheep, roadrunners, quail, desert tortoises, and a variety of lizards.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(11 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(37 within a 30 mile radius)

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