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Hidden Valley Nature Trail

Joshua Tree National Park

Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, California

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Hidden Valley Nature Trail

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  • The Hidden Valley Nature Trail winds through incredible rock piles.- Hidden Valley Nature Trail
  • Older paperbag bushes produce purple seed pods.- Hidden Valley Nature Trail
  • The Hidden Valley Nature Trail proceeds through remarkable boulders and rock piles.- Hidden Valley Nature Trail
  • Signs along the trail make this a great way to learn about the area.- Hidden Valley Nature Trail
  • A Joshua tree along the Hidden Valley Trail.- Hidden Valley Nature Trail
  • A bright mariposa lily seems to emerge out of dead stalks.- Hidden Valley Nature Trail
  • This nature trail is an excellent choice for families.- Hidden Valley Nature Trail
  • Yuccas in bloom along the Hidden Valley Trail.- Hidden Valley Nature Trail
  • Climbers dot the ridge of a prominent rockpile.- Hidden Valley Nature Trail
  • Blooming beavertail cactus along the Hidden Valley Trail.- Hidden Valley Nature Trail
  • A common chuckwalla lizard (Sauromalus ater) surveys the trail.- Hidden Valley Nature Trail
  • A common chuckwalla lizard (Sauromalus ater) at home in the creases of a rockpile in Joshua Tree National Park.- Hidden Valley Nature Trail
  • A climber scrambles to the top of a rockpile.- Hidden Valley Nature Trail
  • Sections of the Hidden Valley Trail have big stairs, but the trail remains very doable for children.- Hidden Valley Nature Trail
  • Views from the Hidden Valley Trail.- Hidden Valley Nature Trail
  • The Hidden Valley Nature Trail Parking area.- Hidden Valley Nature Trail
  • - Hidden Valley Nature Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Unique rock formations. Desert flora and fauna. Short loop. Interpretive signs.
Cons: 
Some crowds. Exposure to sun and heat.
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Region:
Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, CA
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
50.00 ft (15.24 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Total Distance: 
1.00 mi (1.61 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,235.00 ft (1,290.83 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

The Hidden Valley Nature Trail is an ideal hike for those looking for a quick and easy walk through some of Joshua Tree National Park's most iconic scenery, and its proximity to Hidden Valley Campground makes it a must for those staying overnight there. This route leads through a tight passageway that was blasted out by Bill Keys to access grazing land in 1936 just prior the area's designation as a national park. While the trail is just a mile long, give yourself plenty of time to explore the flora and rockpiles. These formations are monzogranite that intruded upward and away from the earth's crust while still molten, but cooled while still below miles of earth and rock. Joints in these monolithic formations developed from the weight of the strata above, and groundwater seepage eroded along these joints to create broader cracks and, in many cases, completely detached boulders that remain in place. As the wind and water elements erode the surface, these formations are exposed as fully formed rockpiles. You'll likely see climbers enjoying the fruits of this incredible process as you walk the loop.

Joshua trees, creosote bushes, paperbag bushes, beavertail cacti, pinyon pines, California juniper, the ubiquitous yucca ... the list of plants that make this walk something like a tour through a desert garden is long and varied, and this variety is yet another reason to budget a good amount of time to complete this short loop. Interpretive signs do an excellent job identifying these plants and discussing their role in the larger ecosystem. You'll also see countless lizards along the way.

Touring the loop in a clockwise direction means you will be climbing stairs as you reach the end of the trial; while these stairs aren't overly taxing, if you'd rather descend them, make sure you head right when you reach the loop and continue in a counterclockwise direction. There is a large picnic area adjacent to the Hidden Valley Nature Trail parking lot, and this makes for a great spot to enjoy lunch after a morning walk on the trail.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(11 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(36 within a 30 mile radius)

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