Mitchell Caverns Tour in Mojave National Preserve

The Mitchell Caverns in Providence State Park are one of the only show caves in Southern California. They finally reopened after being closed for over five years, and if you haven’t explored them, do it now. The caves are only accessible via a guided tour that happens two days a week and is hard to book, but it consists of 1.5 – 2 hours of exploring the caves and learning about the area’s history. Here is all the information.

Details

  • $10 per person for the tour and $10 to park
  • Must call to get on a tour, they told me you could only call on Mondays currently. More information here.
  • Location: 38200 Essex Rd, Essex, CA 92332

Getting There

From Southern California, it is a long drive to get out to Mitchell Caverns, and I would recommend you consider spending the night at Hole in the Wall Campground or something so you can make the most of your time.

Take the 15 North to Barstow then head East on the 40 Freeway. It’s about an hour and a half from Barstow with no gas or food so get what you need before leaving Barstow. When you get to Essex Rd, you will get off and head north into Mojave National Preserve. Follow signs to the caverns and park in the lot.

The Tour

Since it is so far away, we ended up getting there about 40 minutes early. We took the time to explore the small visitors center they have, as well as walked around on the short trail to see cactus and a few historical plaques. There are two bathrooms here as well.

When it was time for the tour to start, they gathered up the 15 of us and started by telling us the history of the area and the Mitchell’s who ran the cave.

The short history is that the Mitchells moved out here in 1934 and they ran the caves as a desert resort and Route 66 attraction for 20 years. Jack built all of the stone buildings here and gave cave tours himself. He also developed the road that got here from Route 66, which was 22 miles. They left in 1954 when they were both in their 70’s, and that is when it was sold to the state parks system.

After learning this history, we headed out on the trail for about a third of a mile hike to where the cave is.

Along the way, we stopped multiple times to learn about the plant and animal life as well as the gold mines that were here. Lots of the plants and animals in this area are only found in this location and not anywhere else in the world. It is called a sky island.

When you round the bend and see the two eyes which are the entrance to the cave, it is a pretty cool sight.

After crossing the small bridge, you will be walking up a hill and will then reach the cave entrance.

The Caverns

From here the tour gets incredible and you spend the next 45 minutes or so in the cave.

The formations here are mind-blowing, featuring a column, which is a connected stalactite and stalagmites. Only 1 in 4,000 caves have a connecting piece like this.

The cave has many rooms that you will get a chance to spend time in and learn more about. I was fascinated by how impressive this cave was to explore; it was much better then I expected.

There are also formations called cave shields here, and they are only found in 60 caves in the USA.

The tour goes up and down stairs, through small tunnels and into large rooms, it’s fantastic.

We also learned about some of the animal life in here including the packrat, you can see his nest in the below photo.

The tour ended in the large room in the second part of the cave. This room was massive and let in some light, so it was easy to see without the man-added lights in the cave.

When you leave the cave, it is about a half mile back to where you parked, completing your time at Providence Mountains.

I loved my time at this park, I am so glad it is open again, and I hope others get a chance to explore this unique Southern California site. Let me know what you think if you go in the comments.

Mitchell Caverns Tour in Mojave National Preserve

The Mitchell Caverns in Providence State Park are one of the only show caves in Southern California. They finally reopened after being closed for over five years, and if you haven’t explored them, do it now. The caves are only accessible via a guided tour that happens two days a week and is hard to book, but it consists of 1.5 – 2 hours of exploring the caves and learning about the area’s history. Here is all the information.

Details

  • $10 per person for the tour and $10 to park
  • Must call to get on a tour, they told me you could only call on Mondays currently. More information here.
  • Location: 38200 Essex Rd, Essex, CA 92332

Getting There

From Southern California, it is a long drive to get out to Mitchell Caverns, and I would recommend you consider spending the night at Hole in the Wall Campground or something so you can make the most of your time.

Take the 15 North to Barstow then head East on the 40 Freeway. It’s about an hour and a half from Barstow with no gas or food so get what you need before leaving Barstow. When you get to Essex Rd, you will get off and head north into Mojave National Preserve. Follow signs to the caverns and park in the lot.

The Tour

Since it is so far away, we ended up getting there about 40 minutes early. We took the time to explore the small visitors center they have, as well as walked around on the short trail to see cactus and a few historical plaques. There are two bathrooms here as well.

When it was time for the tour to start, they gathered up the 15 of us and started by telling us the history of the area and the Mitchell’s who ran the cave.

The short history is that the Mitchells moved out here in 1934 and they ran the caves as a desert resort and Route 66 attraction for 20 years. Jack built all of the stone buildings here and gave cave tours himself. He also developed the road that got here from Route 66, which was 22 miles. They left in 1954 when they were both in their 70’s, and that is when it was sold to the state parks system.

After learning this history, we headed out on the trail for about a third of a mile hike to where the cave is.

Along the way, we stopped multiple times to learn about the plant and animal life as well as the gold mines that were here. Lots of the plants and animals in this area are only found in this location and not anywhere else in the world. It is called a sky island.

When you round the bend and see the two eyes which are the entrance to the cave, it is a pretty cool sight.

After crossing the small bridge, you will be walking up a hill and will then reach the cave entrance.

The Caverns

From here the tour gets incredible and you spend the next 45 minutes or so in the cave.

The formations here are mind-blowing, featuring a column, which is a connected stalactite and stalagmites. Only 1 in 4,000 caves have a connecting piece like this.

The cave has many rooms that you will get a chance to spend time in and learn more about. I was fascinated by how impressive this cave was to explore; it was much better then I expected.

There are also formations called cave shields here, and they are only found in 60 caves in the USA.

The tour goes up and down stairs, through small tunnels and into large rooms, it’s fantastic.

We also learned about some of the animal life in here including the packrat, you can see his nest in the below photo.

The tour ended in the large room in the second part of the cave. This room was massive and let in some light, so it was easy to see without the man-added lights in the cave.

When you leave the cave, it is about a half mile back to where you parked, completing your time at Providence Mountains.

I loved my time at this park, I am so glad it is open again, and I hope others get a chance to explore this unique Southern California site. Let me know what you think if you go in the comments.

Maritime Museum of San Diego: Exploring Old Ships in San Diego Bay

Located in the bay, right near downtown San Diego, the San Diego Maritime Museum is one of my favorite places to explore in the city. This museum comprises 8 – 10 different boats that you can board and traverse, much like the Maritime Historical Park in San Francisco. The boats range from a submarine and ferry to an old pirate looking ship and here is all the information if you want to check it out.

Details

  • Cost: $18 for adults, $8 for children
  • Hours: 9 AM – 8 PM most days
  • Location:  1492 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

Getting There

From the 5 South, you will get off on Front Street and then turn right on Ash St. Take this till it ends at the water and there are a bunch of parking spots that you can utilize near the museum ($2 an hour).

The Museum

After paying for your ticket, you can enter the central area with most of the boats or head over to the Star of India, which is the old sailing ship that most people have seen. I recommend heading over there first.

Star of India

The Star of India is the world’s oldest active sailing ship, and it began sailing in 1863.

The ship has a pretty amazing history, which you can learn more about when you are there, but it has sailed around the world 21 times, and it was once even trapped in ice in Alaska.

This ship is fun to explore with a full museum on the bottom deck.

I was in a rush, so I only got to spend about 20 minutes on this boat, but I plan to come back and explore it more as it was awesome and there is a lot to see and interact with.

After exiting the boat, you will have to re-enter by the main museum to see the rest of the ships.

The ships here range from old ships like the Star of India to submarines like the B-39 Soviet Sub.

The B-39 Soviet Sub was my favorite to explore.

You can enter this submarine, but you must be OK with small spaces as there are four small entryways you have to get through when inside the boat.

It’s fantastic to walk through and see how detailed everything is though.

I can’t imagine actually being on a boat like this, I would go stir crazy, but I enjoyed seeing and exploring it in a setting like this.

The other boats are more of the same, but it’s still a ton of fun to board and explore each one.

After seeing all of the boats, head into the ferry boat which is the main museum and has a few exhibits.

The best of these is the engine room, where you can walk down into in the bowels of the boat.

It really shows how massive these engines are and it is cool to see up close.

Also, don’t forget to head to the second story and see the dining hall area with tables and booths.

Then head up to the top where you can see the wheel and get a high up view of all the ships you explored today.

If you are like me, then the $18 spent on a ticket here will be well worth it. All of the unique boats are a ton of fun to explore, and it is an excellent attraction for the whole family in San Diego. Let me know what you think in the comments.

15 Places to Explore in Joshua Tree National Park

With over 750,000 acres to explore, Joshua Tree National Park can be a daunting park if you don’t know the best spot to see. In this post, I’m going to show you my 15 favorite places in the park. Let me know what I left off in the comments.

Video

If you want to see all of these spots in a video, check it out below.

1. Arch Rock

Arch Rock, located in the White Tank Campground, is one of my favorite places in the entire park. This short half-mile trail takes you to the arch so you can explore all around it, and it’s a great place for star photography as well.

2. Cholla Cactus Garden

The Cholla Cactus Garden is a collection of Cholla cactus that spreads out as far as the eye can see in one specific area of the park. There’s a short trail that lets you get up close and personal with the Cholla cactus, but don’t get too close because they’re known as jumping cactus for a reason, and they will stick to you.

3. Ryan Mountain

Ryan Mountain is right in the center of the park and while it’s not the tallest mountain in Joshua Tree, Ryan Mountain is the most prominent with the beautiful 360-degree view from the summit. This hike is short but it’s incredibly steep and goes up the entire way, so don’t take it lightly. Once you get to the summit, you’ll be able to look out over the park and see the rock formations and all the Joshua trees dotting the landscape below you. It’s also a great place for sunset, but make sure you bring a flashlight for the way down.

4. Barker Dam

Barker Dam, which is the most popular trail in the park, is a short easy to access path. It’s one of the only trails in the park that has water you can see and it takes you to a historic dam from the early 1900’s. If you happen to go in the springtime when it’s filled with water, it’s awesome to see the reflections and the rocks behind it. If you only have a short amount of time in the park, this is a great trail as it lets you see some of Joshua Trees’ best features such as the Joshua Trees and all the crazy rock formations.

5. Wall Street Mill

Wall Street Mill is my fifth stop, and it’s accessed from the same parking lot as Barker Dam. The hike to Wall Street Mill is two miles round-trip; on the way, you’ll go by a few abandoned rusted old cars, which are cool for photography. Then when you get to the mill itself, you can walk all around it, and it’s actually pretty well-preserved. You can’t go in it, but you can get some great views walking around the historic structure, and it’s a fun short hike in Joshua Tree.

6. Key’s Ranch

Keys Desert Queen Ranch is an old homestead from the early 1900’s that’s only accessed by a volunteer led tour a few days a week. The tour is generally Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but check the website for details. This tour books up fast, and there’s only one each day. In order to get a ticket for it, you have to go to the visitor center in Twentynine Palms. I recommend getting there early if you really want to see it as the tickets do sell out fast. When you get to Keys Ranch, the guide will take you past the locked gate and then walk you around the property giving you tons of history over the course of about an hour and a half. It’s a great tour, and it’s well worth the $10 to see this well-preserved homestead in the middle of the park.

7. Rock Formations

Recommendation number seven is taking time to explore some of the parks awesome rock formations. Pretty much each one of these could be their own stop, but I’m bundling them all together so this is not a massive list, here are a few that I recommend you check out.

Skull Rock

Heart Rock

Cap Rock

Penguin Rock

 

8. Hidden Valley

Hidden Valley is also one of the most popular hikes in the park, but for good reason. It’s a beautiful place to explore, and it’s a short one and a half miles. Walking up from the parking lot takes you in to a large valley surrounded almost entirely by rocks. It’s one of those places that remind you of a smuggler’s campground from back in the cowboy days. It’s awesome to just walk through the valley, look at the different rocks, and even hang out and watch the sunset.

9. Lost Horse Mine

Lost Horse Mine is one of the longer hikes on this list, but it takes you to the best-preserved stamp mill in the park. At four miles round-trip and a gradual incline most of the way, this is not a hike you want to do in the summer, but it’s a great winter hike, and the payoff is fantastic. The Lost Horse Mine is completely enclosed in a gate so you can’t get too close to it, but you can still get great views of it from all around the different sides. Also, you can walk up the hill right behind the Lost Horse Mine and get a great view of the entire park.

10. Key’s View

Keys Viewpoint is a great vista that looks out over the Coachella Valley and down into Palm Springs. This is a really popular place that fills up fast for sunset as the sun sets right behind the mountain in front of you. There’s a short little path that takes you to a bench in an overlook, and it’s a great 15 to 20-minute stop in the park or longer if you’re there during sunset.

11. Geology Tour Road

Joshua Tree is one of those places that you can only access a small amount of from the main roads. Geology Tour Road requires you to have a four-wheel drive car, but the 18 miles is relatively easy for those not familiar with off-roading. Along the way, you get out into the backcountry of Joshua Tree National Park, away from all the people and can see a lot of unique interesting views plus the way the park looked back in the old days. At the nine mile mark, there’s a small dam that you can look at, and you can get a map from the visitor center to look at all the different points of interest along the way.

12. Mastodon Peak

Mastodon Peak, in the southern part of Joshua Tree National Park, is a four mile round trip hike that takes you to the top of a small hill, and gives you great view over the park. I like this hike because it’s not too long, and there’s a great payoff at the end of the peak. Plus on the way back, there’s also an old mine that you can see with the mineshaft and some of the remnants of the other structures that used to be there. If you’re coming from the Palm Springs area, this is a great first stop. If you’re coming from the northern part though, you might not want to go all the way down here just to do this hike down.

13. Desert Queen Mine

There are lots of mines in Joshua Tree that you can explore, especially if you have some of the other maps, but Desert Queen Mine is on the park map, and it’s a relatively easy one to find. From the dirt parking lot, it’s about a quarter mile walk to an overlook that lets you look down on the mine and all of the mine shafts that scatter the hill. Or you can add an extra half mile and walk down through the valley to go see the mine shafts and some of the old mining tools in person. While, it doesn’t have this stamp mill that Lost Horse Mine has; it’s still a cool place to explore in the park.

14. Samuelson Rocks

For my last two recommendations, I would consider checking out a book like “On Foot in Joshua Tree National Park” as it’s a great guide to a lot of the hidden spots that you might not see on the park map. The first of these is Samuelson Rocks. This hike has no signs and no official trail so you’re going to want to do some research if you want to find this spot. But once you get there, the small hill holds seven rocks with quotes that a man wrote on them in the 1920s. It’s a fun place to walk around, explore, and see all of the old quotes, some of which are pretty hilarious.

15. Eagle Cliff Mine

My last recommendation is the Eagle Cliff mine, and this is another one of those spots you’re going to have to do a lot of additional research in order to find. The Eagle Cliff Mine is one of the better preserved mines in the park, and it has an awesome old home that’s made of three boulders and bricks laid in between. The little home has been well preserved with some old jars and even a full window that’s still there. If you go, be respectful to the area so that others have a chance to explore as well. Make sure you have a map and a GPS track so that you do not get lost.

That’s it, my 15 recommendations for Joshua Tree National Park. Do remember that Joshua Tree is a desert park so you don’t want to do a lot of these hikes during the summertime. The best time to explore the park is in the winter and the spring because the weather is a lot better. If you do go in the summer, only do short hikes, take tons of water, make sure people know where you’re going, and all of the normal things for hiking in the desert. Let me know if there’s anything that I left off that you like doing in Joshua Tree National Park in the comments.

Eagle Cliff Mine in Joshua Tree National Park

Eagle Cliff Mine is one of my favorite places in Joshua Tree National Park, and one of the most well maintained old mining homesteads I have seen. Because of that, this post will not be a traditional post where I give step by step directions to find the mine. If you want to see it, it is easy to find the information to get there online, but it does require some route finding, which is a good way to keep the hike to those that want to respect this awesome spot for future adventures. The old house that awaits you, is something you will not soon forget in the park, read on for more information.

Details

  • 3.5 miles
  • 500 feet of elevation

The Trail

There are two ways to get there, one leaves from Split Rock and another from Desert Queen Mine, neither are maintained by the park or have any signs. Again, do not attempt if you do not know where you are going as it is very easy to get lost in the desert.

After hiking from the Desert Queen Mine trail, my friend Chris and I eventually made it to the area where the mine is located. I had a GPS point, so I knew where I was heading, but it is still out in the middle of nowhere near a large area of rocks.

When you get close, you will see the start of a cave that heads only about 15 feet into the hillside before it was abandoned.

Continuing on from the cave, you will head into the area of rocks and will see the actual mine shaft in the ground ahead of you. This was more a hole in the ground so don’t try to go down into it.

As you reach the cliffside, the old mine building will be on the right, but it is easy to miss.

This place was once a home to the miner who worked this area, and it is still well maintained.

The journal inside of the house can be signed by the people who make it to the mine, and it showed that 15-20 people come out a day to this location.

There are still jars, jugs and other pieces situated inside the small three wall house.

There is a cave in the back that is where the miner slept, which was surprisingly cooler than the rest of the house. Don’t forget to walk by the outside where the rocks are built up to make a wall, and see the small window in the middle that looks out from the kitchen.

As you can see this is an awesome place to explore in Joshua Tree. If you make it out here, please make sure to keep it exactly the way you found it so that it can be enjoyed for the next generation and check out more places to explore in Joshua Tree here.

Eagle Cliff Mine in Joshua Tree National Park

Eagle Cliff Mine is one of my favorite places in Joshua Tree National Park, and one of the most well maintained old mining homesteads I have seen. Because of that, this post will not be a traditional post where I give step by step directions to find the mine. If you want to see it, it is easy to find the information to get there online, but it does require some route finding, which is a good way to keep the hike to those that want to respect this awesome spot for future adventures. The old house that awaits you, is something you will not soon forget in the park, read on for more information.

Details

  • 3.5 miles
  • 500 feet of elevation

The Trail

There are two ways to get there, one leaves from Split Rock and another from Desert Queen Mine, neither are maintained by the park or have any signs. Again, do not attempt if you do not know where you are going as it is very easy to get lost in the desert.

After hiking from the Desert Queen Mine trail, my friend Chris and I eventually made it to the area where the mine is located. I had a GPS point, so I knew where I was heading, but it is still out in the middle of nowhere near a large area of rocks.

When you get close, you will see the start of a cave that heads only about 15 feet into the hillside before it was abandoned.

Continuing on from the cave, you will head into the area of rocks and will see the actual mine shaft in the ground ahead of you. This was more a hole in the ground so don’t try to go down into it.

As you reach the cliffside, the old mine building will be on the right, but it is easy to miss.

This place was once a home to the miner who worked this area, and it is still well maintained.

The journal inside of the house can be signed by the people who make it to the mine, and it showed that 15-20 people come out a day to this location.

There are still jars, jugs and other pieces situated inside the small three wall house.

There is a cave in the back that is where the miner slept, which was surprisingly cooler than the rest of the house. Don’t forget to walk by the outside where the rocks are built up to make a wall, and see the small window in the middle that looks out from the kitchen.

As you can see this is an awesome place to explore in Joshua Tree. If you make it out here, please make sure to keep it exactly the way you found it so that it can be enjoyed for the next generation and check out more places to explore in Joshua Tree here.

Desert Queen Mine in Joshua Tree National Park

Desert Queen Mine is located pretty much in the center of Joshua Tree National Park. The trail is popular, even though it is located down a dirt road, and the short path can lead you to an overlook, or you can explore the mine up close. You can also use this hike as a jumping off point to see places like the Eagle Cliff Mine as well. Here is all the information.

Details

  • .75 miles to the overlook, 1.5 to the mine itself
  • Flat to overlook, 150 feet of elevation to mine

Getting There

The trailhead for this hike is located down a dirt road that’s adjacent from the Geology Tour Road. The one-lane dirt road shouldn’t be an issue for most cars and about a mile after you pass the parking area for Lucky Boy Vista, you will make it to the Desert Queen Mine parking area.

The Trail

There is a bathroom at the trailhead and the trail leaves from right next to it. It continues along a relatively flat path for the first third of a mile.

Eventually, you will reach a split with one way heading to the overlook and the other leading down towards the mine.

If you only have a short time, then just go to the overlook and check it out, if you have more time then head down to the mines themselves.

The trail to the mines goes past a small rock building that still has walls standing.

It continues downhill until you reach the gully and start going up again.

Eventually, you will reach the first of many mine shafts. I found at least five when I went, and all of them are gated over so that you don’t fall in. While you can’t see much, it is still crazy to find all of these massive mine shafts on the side of the mountain.

There was also a few old pieces of machinery and tools that you can see along the path as well.

If you continue up to the top of the small hill, you will see a mine shaft that you can enter a few feet into, before it being gated off. Also, on top of the hill, there are three more shafts in the ground that you can see.

When you finish exploring, you can head on to the Eagle Cliff Mine (be sure to have a GPS track if you do though!) or go back to the parking area. Remember that you are hiking in the desert and that this trail is not shaded so it can get sweltering. Let me know what you think of Desert Queen Mine in the comments.

Samuelson Rocks in Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is full of wonders that are not on any of the park maps. Much like all of the other national parks, some of the best adventures can only be had if you put in the research to find them. Samuelson Rocks, the cube, and Eagle Cliff Mine are places like this. Samuelson Rocks is a small hill in the west part of the park where an early homesteader wrote sayings on the rocks that run the gauntlet between providing words of wisdom to insulting then president Hover. It is a wild spot to explore and its fun to see these old (1920’s) historic rocks. Here is all the information.

Details

  • 3 miles
  • Flat
  • Need a GPS location to find it
  • There is no cell reception out here so make sure you download the track before you come out.

Getting There

This hike does not have an established trail, and there is no marker I can give you to park at. I would recommend entering from the west entrance and getting a GPS track from one of the many sites online that have one, prior to going out of reception. That way you can follow it all the way to the rock, and you can also see where to park. Note this hike is in the exposed desert, do not attempt it during the heat of summer.

The Hike

From the road where you pull off (see above for recommendations on getting a GPS track), you will want to follow the path out towards the mountains.

Since this hike is still relatively popular, look for the footpath trail and try to stay on that as you head out.

The “trail” is open and uneventful for most of the first mile as you head back towards the mountains. Eventually, you will see a small mound on the right, up near the base of one of the mountains, that is where the rocks are located.

On the way there keep your eyes peeled for the remnants of the homestead which includes an old jeep that is decaying into the ground and a house.

The jeep is much like what you would see on the Wall Street Mill hike with not much left but the metal.

The house is also pretty much destroyed as well with no walls still standing. There was a small basement that you could look into, but it didn’t seem very safe to go in.

From here we headed over to the mound with the rocks on it. There are seven quotes on six rocks (one has two). We found all but one on the small hill.

You will be able to see the first one easily as it has a small bench you can sit at right in front of it.

The rest are scattered around the hill though and finding them will require keeping your eyes peeled and hiking around the hill looking for them.

My friend Chris and I had a good time hiking around and looking for all of the rocks. This would not be a great hike when it is hot as there is no shade, but in the winter months, it is a lot of fun.

After you finish exploring, head back the way you came, following the GPS back to the car. Let me know what you think of this hike in the comments.

Hidden Valley Trail in Joshua Tree National Park

Hidden Valley is one of Joshua Tree National Park’s most popular hikes. The one-mile loop trail takes you through a valley that is primarily enclosed from the outside world with towering walls of rocks. It was also a popular spot for rustlers to hide their cattle since it is a mainly confined valley. The trail is pretty level, and it is an excellent hike for the whole family. Here is all the information.

Details

  • 1 mile
  • 50 feet of elevation
  • Location:

Getting There

Hidden Valley is located opposite the Hidden Valley Campground and close to the turnoff for Barker Dam. It is well signed, and you can reference the park map to see its exact location.

The trail

From the parking lot, you will head out on the well-marked trail in the northwest part of the parking area.

The trail heads uphill first along a series of stone steps. After less than a tenth of a mile, you will reach the top of this section and be in the Hidden Valley.

It is said that the opening you walk through was blasted by Bill Key’s from Keys Ranch to give his cattle better access to the grasses in the valley.

The hike continues on a clockwise loop, heading slightly downhill on a well-maintained path.

There are many signs along the way that note interesting parts of the trail as well as different plant and animal life.

The trail then passes an extensive collection of rocks on the right and starts to head downhill into the valley.

As you continue downhill you will start to see how big the valley is and the large rocks on each side of you. It was a lot bigger then I anticipated it being. The trail will then curve around, and you will start to go back the way you came.

Don’t miss the giant burrito, which is the name for one of the more massive rocks in this section. Eventually, you will come back to where the trail split in the beginning and then head back down the stairs to where you parked.

Also, note that this is a great spot for sunset, the colors are beautiful here, and the views are impressive. Let me know what you think of this spot in the comments and find more places to explore here.

Arch Rock Trail in Joshua Tree National Park

One of my favorite places in all of Joshua Tree National Park is the White Tank Campground. This collection of 11 campsites are private and awesome, plus they lead to a wonderland of rocks which includes the popular arch rock. This short trail will take you the arch and if you have time you can explore and find the heart rock and other fun spots in the area as well. Here is all the information.

Details

  • 1 mile
  • Flat
  • Location: White Tank Campground

Getting There

To get to White Tank Campground from the Oasis Visitor Center in 29 Palms, head south on Park Blvd. There will be a split in the road and you will want to head left. From there you will pass by Belle Campground and then get to White Tank Campground. If you went to Cholla Cactus Gardens then you went too far. When you enter the campground you will drive down the small main road and will then reach the trailhead sign and a place where 3-4 cars can park for the hike.

The Trail

From the parking area, you will see a sign for the trailhead. Head out on the well-maintained trail as it climbs up a small hill.

You will then get a view of the backcountry area and can look out over the sea of rocks around you.

Continue to follow the trail down and you will see a sign for Arch Rock.

From here you can see the arch and you can start your exploration of the area, including climbing on the rocks surrounding it to get a better view.

One of the best things about camping in the White Tank Campground is that you can come walk out here at night and take star trails photos of the arch as well.

Heart Rock

Many people ask me about where Heart Rock is, and I think it is fun that this spot is more unknown and you have to search to find it.

I won’t give the exact location either, but it is about a quarter mile or so from Arch Rock if you want to look around for it.

As you can see, this is a great hike in the park and one that is easy enough for families to do as well. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.