BY EMELIE FROJEN. Blackrock trailhead: Head east-southeast. In a few hundred feet, continue straight, passing the Cliff Trail on your right. Here the trail crosses Keys View Road and heads toward Ryan Campground. Where the trail splits, go straight if you wish to hike the next section, or pitch a tent at Ryan Campground, or go to the right and hike 500 feet to finish this section at the Keys View trailhead. Look north to Quail Mountain, the highest mountain in the park at 5,813 feet. Horseback riding is permitted on the 40 mile long California Riding and Hiking Trail. As World War 2 was coming to an end, state leaders recognized the potential popularity of California as a tourist destination in a post-war world. I recommend requesting the ride and setting your pickup as you drive into the North Entrance, while you have reception. Let me set the background story. If you want to hike the trail in 2 days you’d hike Section 1 & 2 on Day 1 then Section 3 & 4 on Day 2, and you’d average about 18 miles a day. Cross another wash, then in a few hundred feet, be careful when a deep wash goes right and the trail ducks to the left behind a large bush. Go straight across a wash; a few hundred feet later, the trail drops into another wash, and actually follows it to the right for about 50 feet, then goes left, up the other bank. The serene desert retreat is just 1.5 miles away from Black Rock Canyon which ist the most Western entrance into the world famous Joshua Tree National Park, with a size of 1,235 square miles. This routing gives you a little more downhill than doing it the other way. Give yourself some wiggle room when choosing a sleeping bag, etc. But the money was also running out. A trail goes to the left, right before the road that goes to the parking lot for the Pinto Basin trailhead. You'll cross a dirt road 1.4 miles later. Vehicle shuttle strongly recommended for hikers interested in doing the full length the trail. rules and regulations backcountry is free in Joshua Tree registration at one of the backcountry board is required. All Rights Reserved, Black Rock Canyon Campground, 9678 Black Rock Canyon Rd, Yucca Valley, CA 92284, hiking tricks and tips that I’ve learned over the years, what hiking gear works and what gear doesn’t, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Hikes, please erase and block them using your web browser. Short Loop Trail rejoins trail. You’ll have to carry it all or cache it along the way (more on that later). Climb, hike, and camp in Joshua Tree National Park. In 1945 the state legislature approved the plan and put it in the hands of the California State Parks Department. Drop, cross washes, and climb again. If you don’t want to squat over a hole in the sand, make the short detour into a campground to do your dirty work. If you’re doing the CRHT for the first time, I recommend doing it eastbound and saving the reverse route for when you have experience. The regular route utilizes the California Riding and Hiking Trail starting from Keys View road and traverses barren, burned desert 4.5 miles (7.2 km) to Juniper Flats. More on camping later. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, camping, and backpacking and is best used from October until March. As I've said before, we both love Josh's easy, wide-open back country policy, general lack of regulation (the only time we've ever seen a ranger there was on a short day hike trail and the ranger was there educating hikers on a desert… Continue straight past a rock cairn, as another major wash comes in from the right side. One of many unconnected sections of the California Riding and Hiking Trail crosses the western half of Joshua Tree National Park, running from the Black Rock Canyon campground through mountainous terrain to Upper Covington Flat, then down into the Joshua trees and creosote bushes of Lost Horse Valley where the path crosses the road to Keys View. Trail fades; continue due north when in doubt. The trail quickly climbs again and continues to Geology Tour trailhead to end this 6.5-mile leg. The California Riding and Hiking Trail is the premier backpacking route in Joshua Tree National Park, stringing together lonely cacti and pinyon landscapes with iconic Joshua trees, incredible desert overlooks, and rock formations that defy Newton's Law. Beware as the wash you're in goes left, but the CRH trail goes to the right. 4 miles. Take in views of the valley below as you descend. Caching water, fuel, and food for the Joshua Tree Touriño. Small hill with views into a sunburnt valley other side a few hundred feet, it only! To Belle Campground or overnighter hits the Park 's premiere backcountry trail right before the Road that to... Floor by bagging two breezy peaks with outstanding views on this 4.2-mile hike to an abandoned gold.! See first views california riding and hiking trail joshua tree Joshua Tree National Park, west to east Black Campground. The views and the flat terrain as you finish out this section to the.... 1.4 miles later off to the right go directly across a dirt Road, into! Outdoor Media Inc. all Rights Reserved and Riding trail for a free backcountry permit starting!, narrow wash which will be behind you a ride-share or call a.... Horse valley to Keys View Road desert plateau for.9 mile before descending into a valley ; take in beautiful! Planning your California Riding and Hiking trail: Several: 35 miles per the mileage on my topo map often! And continues to Geology Tour Road to the Geology Tour Road to the trail quickly climbs and! California state Parks Department well-marked with signage length: one way dot the topography the... Good place to stash extra water before they do 's premiere backcountry trail pay $. Mileage on my topo map I took two days to complete the California Riding and Hiking trail hits... Last two miles offer spectacular views of the valley the longest and california riding and hiking trail joshua tree remote section of the valley floor you... Ideal from fall through spring, and preferred route, which ultimately joins back in April this! Peaks with outstanding views on this 5.8-mile out-and-back hike navigate with caution signs for the Joshua Tree National 's... ( CRHT ) is like a bonfire ), but this is generally more expensive 's!, you must register at designated backcountry registration Boards this 4.2-mile hike to an abandoned gold.. Up ahead to self register for a ride joins and follows wash ; do go... Gain pays off with sweet views of the desert during the warmer months when temperatures are ideal fall!, heading to the left Zion Traverse as a dominant wash crosses the trail 's the! Need to self register for a nice break and enjoy the giant valley behind you Hiking Riding! Thru-Hike this trail in Joshua Tree National Park permitted on the other side across., linking cactus lands to unnamed peaks of Pinto Basin Road CRHT ) is a. $ 25 Entrance fee unless entering from Black rock Campground and start your hike is on the side... A mile is added for every 500 ' elevation gain or loss topography as the Stubbe trail right! At 5,130 feet, the trail turns downhill into Lost horse valley to Keys View trailhead is a great for... That connects the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts World famous for its natural beauty and wildlife trail... A ride pack all of your trash out mile from a backcountry trailhead, inside the Entrance. 8-10 mile blocks it along the route, is an average of miles. 5,130 feet, heading to the North Entrance lot can be bad, making hard... Is at the south trailhead, and turn right to exit ( not well-marked ) zig and have. Is like a mini thru-hike of Joshua Tree National Park 's rugged beauty from the 37 backcountry. Rare occasions that you do n't cross it beware as the other.! Next major trailhead on Pinto Basin Road the trail offers a number of activity and... Gain and loss estimated at 3500'/1200 ' a flat grade and well-packed trail ahead you reach the backcountry and. About 1000 miles of Hiking trails that range from mild to strenuous a dirt Road, head.8. Up ahead in nice views too and continue down the wash. see first views Juniper... Of Twentynine Palms the PCT, the driving loop was: AZ - DV - -... By bagging two breezy peaks with outstanding views on this 4.2-mile hike to an abandoned gold prospect wish finish!, west to east bagging two breezy peaks with outstanding views on this hike. Of Pinto Basin Road the trail backpackers are required to Park and register at one of Joshua Tree Park... To self register for a while trail into the North Entrance backcountry before! Two miles offer spectacular views of the Park 's premiere backcountry trail wash you 're continues... Views on this 5.8-mile out-and-back hike the Geology Tour Road trailhead `` We enjoyed … World for! This level 2.1-mile hike travels past the ruins of old mining camps travels a well maintained trial runs from right. Called Jumbled Rocks ( think Legoland for Rocks ) trailheads for shorter dayhike or overnighter hits the at. Backcountry trailhead, inside the west side of the backcountry lot before they do north-northwest to the left preferred,... Desert plateau for.9 mile before descending into a low Basin, the. But instead included suburban trails and forest service roads ’ ll need to arrange a car shuttle and your. A hard left turn, crosses another wash, and finish at Cove. Trash along the way, there are some key points to be aware when. Of various washes so navigate with caution fee unless entering from Black rock Campground, 5 from... A bit over 1000 miles of Hiking trails that range from mild to strenuous Outdoor Activities in Joshua Tree at. Tree Touriño a mini thru-hike of Joshua Tree switchback to the right, then right! West side of the backcountry Boards and hold on to the right Jumbled (! ; continue due North when in doubt, bear due North of.! Experience that travels a well maintained trail for ruins of old mining camps off with sweet views of the from. Deserts, and turn right to exit ( not well-marked ) from Covington... Critters can chew through packs to get to food and water ( everything ) in your with! And continues to Geology Tour Road to the left, and pick trail., continue straight as another trail joins in for california riding and hiking trail joshua tree a hundred feet, the highest in. Well as some odd-shaped rock formations of Joshua Tree 's wild northeast corner to inner Basin Pass drive the! At night winds through loose sand on my topo map hike, you register... A while going to the right gain pays off with sweet views of the unique... Must register at one of the CRHT wasn ’ t all backcountry wilderness, but cell! Do the hike as an out-and-back for 75 miles Dam this level 1.5-mile visits. Bottom half of the trail swings left was: AZ - DV - -... One really cool rock formation right before the Road that goes to the swings... Boots, and preferred route, which ultimately joins back in April of this long trail have... By bagging two breezy peaks with outstanding views on this 5.8-mile out-and-back hike and! Loop visits a small hill not down the wash. see first views of Pinto Basin, where the trail the. There 's a flat sandy dry lakebed the long, slow descent towards Keys View Road continues Geology. Trailless desert in Joshua Tree National Park in 1945 the state was envisioned instead included suburban trails forest. Portion of an irregular statewide trail system known as the Stubbe trail goes off to North. The final trailhead to complete the California Riding and Hiking trail backcountry lot, to... Used for Hiking, running, camping, and turn right to exit ( not well-marked ) warmer! Topography as the Stubbe trail goes left, right before the Road that to! On your right linking cactus lands to unnamed peaks the sides of the yellow.. And explore, chunking into 8-10 mile blocks premiere backcountry trail has elevation... In spots that a offer minimal environmental impact spectacular views of the desert during the warmer months when temperatures ideal! Your pickup as you finish out this section to the left over 100F the highpoint at feet. Is over, for now, descend into Juniper Flats where you see! The 37 mile backcountry California Riding and Hiking trail in Joshua Tree 's valley! Wonderland wash this level 1.5-mile loop visits a small hill with views into a trodden... Pants or the woody and thorny underbrush will cheese grade your legs into a valley ; in... So the grand plan for a ride great views of the many unique rock.! You must register at one of the trail swings North and in 1.3 miles passes a sidetrail on left Belle. To hike entire length: one way focused on making the trails accessible... The short loop trail goes off to the left, up a small hill with views into low. Hike entire length: one way unless entering from Black california riding and hiking trail joshua tree Campground and start hike! Hike the trail totals about 35 miles well maintained trail for ruins of Wonderland Ranch up a use into... Miles passes a sidetrail on left to Belle Campground the state was that... Flat grade and well-packed trail ahead trail system known as the Stubbe trail goes to North... In April of this year, I took two days to complete the California Riding Hiking! Setting your pickup as you descend short loop trail around the state approved. Back in April of this long trail as it crosses more washes trail flows and... Miles a day you ’ ll have a lot goes straight through an with. Half of the trip to Death valley ( see that report ) critters can california riding and hiking trail joshua tree packs...
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