The Palms Oasis and Mastodon Peak Trail is a moderate there-and-back/loop hike in Joshua Tree National Park. Approximately 7.5 miles and 500 feet of elevation gain take place on the main Palms Oasis Trail, and there is an additional 375 feet to hike to the top of Mastodon Peak. Spring is the best time of the year for this hike due to the wildflower bloom, but it is also recommended for the fall or winter. This hike is not recommended during the summer due to the extreme heat and lack of shade along the trail. Though one of the more popular hikes in the park, it is only moderately congested.
The trail is easy to follow with signage; stick to the trail and you'll get to your destination. The trail is sandy for most of its mileage and relatively level until the end, where there is a canyon that you can hike down to get to the palm oasis. The loop for Mastodon Peak is a part of the beginning of the trail, and signs will signify where to turn off in order to hike to the peak; this is well worth the short diversion, and you will have beautiful unobstructed views from the top.
The Lost Palms Oasis Trail is a there-and-back trail, and you can wait to do the Mastodon Peak Trail until you return to the starting point. The palms provide the only shade on this hike. On a hot and sunny day, enjoy the views and the shade before heading back the way you came.