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Ryan Mountain Hike

Joshua Tree National Park

Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, California

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Ryan Mountain Hike

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  • Starting off on the Ryan Mountain Trail.- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • Looking out west from the Ryan Mountain Trail.- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • Desert blue bells (Phacelia campanularia) along the Ryan Mountain Trail.- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • View up toward the summit of Ryan Mountain.- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • View north from the summit of Ryan Mountain (5,457 ft).- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • View west to San Jacinto Peak (10,804 ft) from Ryan Mountain.- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • View northwest to Lost Horse Valley and the Hidden Valley area of Joshua Tree National Park from Ryan Mountain.- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • View of Cap Rock from Ryan Mountain.- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • View east over Queen Valley toward Jumbo Rocks from Ryan Mountain.- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • Chuckwalla cholla (Cylindropuntia chuckwallensis) and Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) at the summit of Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park.- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • Unidentified aster species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • Unidentified lupine species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • Hikers along the Ryan Mountain Trail.- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • Birstly fiddleneck (Amsinckia tessellata) along the Ryan Mountain Trail.- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • Blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosisssima) along the Ryan Mountain Trail.- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • Juvenile common chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater) along the Ryan Mountain Trail.- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • Desert mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua).- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • Blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosisssima) along the Ryan Mountain Trail.- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • Lichen along the Ryan Mountain Trail.- Ryan Mountain Hike
  • Bearded cryptantha (Cryptantha barbigera).- Ryan Mountain Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
360-degree views of Joshua Tree National Park. Relatively short hike.
Cons: 
Sun and wind exposure.
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Region:
Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, CA
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,070.00 ft (326.14 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Total Distance: 
3.00 mi (4.83 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,390.00 ft (1,338.07 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

Centrally located within Joshua Tree National Park, Ryan Mountain rises over 1,000 feet above its western Sonoran Desert surroundings, easily providing the best and most accessible 360-degree views of the 790,636-acre park.

The hike itself is relatively straightforward, starting on the mountain's north side (right off of Park Boulevard) and gradually climbing 1,070 feet over the duration of the 1.5-mile trail. While hiking you'll pass the park's classic yellow sandstone rocky crags, blackbrush, Mojave yucca, and countless wildflowers during the spring season. Once you've reached the 5,457-foot summit, stand atop the mountain's cairn and take in the expansive views, including San Jacinto Peak (10,804 feet) to the west across the Coachella Valley and San Gorgonio Mountain (11,503 feet) to the northwest, part of the San Bernardino Mountains and Southern California's tallest peak.

A ubiquitous name within the national park, "Ryan" originates from Jepp, Tom and Matt Ryan, three brothers who were notable homesteaders and miners in what is now the boundaries of the park. You can explore the remains of their cattle ranch along the Ryan Ranch Trail and their gold mining operation, Lost Horse Mine.

Note: Before embarking on this 3-mile hike, be sure to have ample sun protection and an extra layer as it is common for winds to be quite strong at the summit.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(11 within a 30 mile radius)

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(37 within a 30 mile radius)

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