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Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike

Joshua Tree National Park

Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, California

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Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike

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  • Fortynine Palms Oasis Trailhead.- Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike
  • Acton encelia (Encelia actoni) along the Fortynine Palms Oasis Trail.- Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike
  • Beavertail cactus (Opuntia basilaris) along the Fortynine Palms Oasis Trail.- Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike
  • View to the west from the Fortynine Palms Oasis Trail.- Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike
  • Hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii) along the Fortynine Palms Oasis Trail.- Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike
  • View northeast toward Twentynine Palms.- Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike
  • Acton encelia (Encelia actoni) along the Fortynine Palms Oasis Trail.- Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike
  • California barrel cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus) along the Fortynine Palms Oasis Trail.- Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike
  • Fortynine Palms Oasis in the Fortynine Palms Canyon.- Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike
  • Fortynine Palms Oasis in the Fortynine Palms Canyon.- Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike
  • Fortynine Palms Oasis in the Fortynine Palms Canyon.- Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike
  • California fan palms (Washingtonia filifera) in the Fortynine Palms Oasis.- Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike
  • California fan palms (Washingtonia filifera) in the Fortynine Palms Oasis.- Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike
  • View of the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base through the Fortynine Palms Canyon.- Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike
  • Sunset view over Twentynine Palms.- Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike
  • Sunset view from the Fortynine Palms Oasis Trail.- Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike
  • Sunset view across the valley of Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base.- Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike
  • View northwest into the Mojave Desert from the Fortynine Palms Oasis Trail.- Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Large desert oasis. Panoramic views over Twentynine Palms. Wildlife common.
Cons: 
Sun exposure. Uneven trail.
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Region:
Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, CA
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
360.00 ft (109.73 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Fall
Total Distance: 
3.00 mi (4.83 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,720.00 ft (829.06 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Even though there are no Joshua trees to be seen on this 3-mile out-and-back hike in Joshua Tree National Park, it’s a marvel to see the cacti when they bloom in the springtime, and the trail is lined with creosote bushes and hardy jojoba. The out-of-place palm trees that cluster around the small, lush oasis provide welcome shade and invite hikers and rare desert wildlife alike. It’s one of the five recognized oases in the park.

Note that there is extremely limited shade, and temperatures almost always run remarkably high on this trail. Pack much more water that you’re expecting to consume, and make sure that everyone in your party is in good health. Though the 1.5 miles each way coupled with 300 feet of elevation gain don’t sound ominous, the National Park Service rescues a number of underprepared people every year.

This deserted hike is well maintained and packed full of wildlife. A plethora of hawks and desert birds can be heard among the scrub brush while reptiles and the occasional rodent dart across the path. Keep a sharp eye out for the chuckwalla; this strictly herbivorous lizard can grow to be as long as 1.5 feet long, asserting itself at the largest of the Mojave Desert lizards and the second largest in the southwest, dwarfed only by the Gila Monster.

The oasis itself provides a fascinating look at desert ecology. The palm trees were planted by miners in the early 1900s who wanted to mark the small spring that ran through the area. The darkened trunks of the palms reflect the number of fires that have come through the area in recent history—Fan Palms are naturally fire resistant and can actually benefit from small fires.

Though travel beyond this small series of pools and springs is possible, it’s only recommended for strong hikers and confident scramblers. A bit of savvy navigation is required. If you so choose, the lesser-marked trail beyond the oasis continues for another 1.5 miles before it opens up into a high, isolated valley.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(10 within a 30 mile radius)

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(27 within a 30 mile radius)

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