Joshua Tree is just a few hours’ drive from Los Angeles, and there are plenty of reasons to make the trip. Perhaps the biggest attraction is the magical desert landscape itself, with its unusual cacti, imposing boulders, and rocky mountains—and what better way to experience it than by hiking through the middle of it?
From the quick, easy, and kid-friendly to the epic and strenuous, here are 16 incredible hikes in Joshua Tree.
1. Ryan Mountain
Distance: 2.8 miles
It’s a short hike up to Ryan Mountain, but the 1000-foot elevation hits hard and fast—so be prepared for a brief uphill struggle. The payoff is well worth it though, with incredibly photogenic 360-degree views of Joshua Tree National Park.
2. Hidden Valley
Distance: 1 mile
The Hidden Valley Trail is a short, flat, one-mile loop that’s perfect for families with kids or those looking for something a little more relaxed. The valley itself features giant boulders and rock formations that are best experienced at dusk or dawn for full Martian effect.