Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
69.00 ft (21.03 m)
Trail type
10.80 mi (17.38 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Chiriaco Summit Dirt Road Hike is a 10.8-mile trek in the Colorado Desert located southeast of Palm Springs, California. It starts from Chiriaco Summit and skirts the southwest boundary of Joshua Tree National Park while staying on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. This route offers scenic mountain views, wild desert plants, and, despite its proximity to Highway 10, there are sections that are hidden from the road, making it possible to find some quiet solitude along the way. Also, this route travels through a historic area that was once used as a military training ground during World War II.

Between Lost Palms Canyon and Cottonwood Canyon, this trail runs east to west with little elevation change along a wide, rocky, sand-covered path. It features native plants of the Colorado Desert, such as yuccas, agaves, cacti, and stunning stands of ocotillo. As you walk in this vast desert landscape, devoid of tall shady trees, you will be treated to scenic views of the Eagle Mountains, Cottonwood Mountains, and surrounding wilderness areas. In spite of the natural beauty of the open desert terrain, it is also a harsh environment with fragile plants, little shade, and no reliable water. 

Visitors should plan to bring and carry sufficient water, dress in sun protective clothing, and avoid hiking on extremely hot days. This is an ideal winter trek. 


Located off Highway 10, Chiriaco Summit features a campground, restaurant, gift shop, information center, and museum dedicated to General Patton.


This route crosses over an area managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and is a popular spot for dispersed camping. You can find specific information and regulations regarding dispersed camping by visiting 


Chiriaco Summit

Camp Young Historical Area

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Mountain Views. Desert Landscape.


Near highway. No water.

Trailhead Elevation

1,705.00 ft (519.68 m)

Highest point

1,790.00 ft (545.59 m)


Backcountry camping
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping

Salton Sea State Recreation Area, California
Salton Sea State Recreation Area, California


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