Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
771.00 ft (235.00 m)
Trail type
6.50 mi (10.46 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.

The Maze Loop Trail in Joshua Tree National Park is a great introduction to the park’s longer hikes. The trailhead is just a couple of miles inside of the park’s west entrance and explores a variety of terrain, from flat and sandy to rocky climbs. The loop can be done in a few variations, with the description below rounding out at 6.5 miles.

Headed into the park from the west entrance station, there is a small dirt parking area on the left at 1.8 miles. The trailhead can be a bit confusing to locate at first; look to the right and there will be a sign that reads, “Maze Loop (south access) 4.5 miles.” This direction will follow the Maze Loop counter-clockwise with the majority of the climbing at the end.

The first mile of the trail borders the main road, before winding toward the rocky terrain that the Maze Loop is known for. Mile two is pointed out by trail markers through a sandy wash; strategically placed rocks and branches will keep the trail apparent until the namesake maze begins. After about another mile, the trail splits left, winding through rocky outcroppings that rise and fall with the terrain. When the trail looks to be a bit lost, there is sure to be a trail marker nearby.

After 3 miles, you can head left back to the trailhead for the 4.5-mile version of the loop, or continue to the right, momentarily merging with the Big Pine Trail before heading left onto the North View Trail. The last couple of miles continue to climb until the trail begins to meander through rocky mounds, rising and falling into several rocky valleys. At the height of the climb, the neighboring communities can be seen in one direction and the vastness of the park in the other. The final half-mile drops down through lush desert vegetation, ending back at the parking area.

While the Maze Loop was once known for its confusing trajectory, the current trail markers make navigating the Maze easy and enjoyable. This hike is recommended in fall through spring, however, it can also be excellent in summer as a sunrise hike to avoid the desert heat. In the winter or spring, after some rain, expect to see plentiful wildflowers!

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Park entrance fee

Open Year-round



Great views. Close to park entrance.


Limited Parking. Exposed.

Trailhead Elevation

3,880.00 ft (1,182.62 m)

Highest point

4,280.00 ft (1,304.54 m)



Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping


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