Split Rock Loop Hike

Joshua Tree National Park

Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, California

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Split Rock Loop Hike


  • Parking area for Split Rock.- Split Rock Loop Hike
  • Heading out on the trail.- Split Rock Loop Hike
  • Along the Split Rock Trail.- Split Rock Loop Hike
  • Typical Joshua Tree boulders.- Split Rock Loop Hike
  • View from the Split Rock Loop Trail.- Split Rock Loop Hike
  • Small hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus).- Split Rock Loop Hike
  • Split Rock Trail in Joshua Tree National Park.- Split Rock Loop Hike
  • Rocks along the Split Rock Trail in Joshua Tree National Park.- Split Rock Loop Hike
  • Junction with the Face Rock Trail.- Split Rock Loop Hike
  • The Split Rock area is popular with rock climbers.- Split Rock Loop Hike
  • View of the Split Rock picnic area from the trail.- Split Rock Loop Hike
Overview + Weather
Fairly flat. Great scenery.
Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, CA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
200.00 ft (60.96 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.00 mi (3.22 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,218.00 ft (1,285.65 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

The Split Rock loop is one of several short hikes that explore the magical rock heaps that, along with Joshua Tree National Park’s namesake trees, define this unique desert enclave. Just a short drive from the popular and crowded Skull Rock area, this hike will likely offer solitude and many chances to scramble on and around the rough granite boulder heaps.

From the parking lot, the trail is an oval loop that doesn’t involve much elevation change, but it climbs in and out of several small basins. The trail is an excellent introduction to the varied plant life of the Mojave Desert, featuring Joshua Trees, cholla cacti and creosote bush (Larrea tridentata). The huge formations of granite boulders present a limitless supply of interesting and imagination-tweaking shapes. To the distant east, the Twentynine Palms Mountains are visible. About 0.3 miles up the trail there is a sharp turn to the left with a small “Split Rock” sign. Follow that direction to continue the loop or continue straight to take the trail to the fascinating Eagle Cliff Mine site.

The loop trail wanders among the boulder piles to a junction with the Skull Rock Trail, where a sharp left will return to the Split Rock parking area. Watch for rock climbers in this area.

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Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(11 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(31 within a 30 mile radius)

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