Trail

Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree, California

Palm Springs, CA
Length: 1.00 mi.
Type: Loop

About This Trail

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

ACTIVITIES: Hiking, camping, rock climbing historic remnants climbing, historic remnants

LENGTH OF HIKE: 1 mile

OUT AND BACK OR LOOP: Loop

DIFFICULTY OF TERRAIN: Easy

ELEVATION GAIN: 200 feet

PARKING FEE/PASS: Yes

TOILETS: Yes

CHANGING TABLE: No

NURSING BENCHES: No

DOGS ALLOWED: No

BIKES/HORSES/MOTORS ON TRAIL: No

CELL RECEPTION: No

DRINKING WATER AVAILABLE: No

POTENTIAL CHILD OR BABY HAZARDS: Cacti, snakes, scorpions, poking
bushes

GEAR SUGGESTIONS: Water, sunscreen, hat

Joshua Tree is a perfect hiking location for families with young kids for so many reasons. The landscape looks like it’s straight out of a Dr. Seuss book between the spiky Joshua trees, cholla cacti, and the giant granite boulders that look like  pebbles tossed in the sand and then supersized. The only drawback to this area is that it can get pretty hot, so it’s definitely not a summer spot to hit. What is amazing about this park is you can hike in 70- to 80-degree weather in the middle of the winter.

The main trails, like many national parks, are very well marked and have nice plaques along the way explaining animals, plants, and petroglyphs. Why we chose this hike was because, while it’s only 1 mile, there are so many side adventures you can do like climbing on rocks and investigating the desert along the way that’s more or less doable by new little walkers.

This is a lollipop hike with a short lead-in through to the loop, and then it travels around a little rock hill, then heads back toward the parking lot. There’s a short, not-to-be-missed offshoot trail that leads to a petroglyph wall as well. What you will like about this hike is how much flat, wide-open terrain there is, allowing  children to run free without concern. Keep an eye out for spiky things, however, and make sure you point them out to little ones so they can learn to identify them quickly. There are a few cacti in this desert that will reach out and grab you as you pass by, so steer your littles away from these. Most are fairly easily spotted.

Toddlers and little kids will also love how easily they can climb the round granite boulders. Keep an eye on them because they can get pretty high quickly if you turn your back. Joshua Tree is a popular climbing spot, so also look out for rock climbers dangling high on the walls or bouldering mats on the ground and people scaling the walls rope-free like Spiderman.

There are a few other noteworthy hikes nearby that are super easy for toddlers to hike on their own two feet. Check out Barker’s Dam, which has a dammed-up pond in the middle of the hike and a dam and is about 1.5 miles long. And go to Ryan Campground and hike out 1.2 miles to the Ryan Ranch Ruins, which are the leftovers of an old adobe house from the 1800s. This is a great spot for pictures, especially at sunset.

WHY IT’S A FAVORITE
“Mason is a fairly timid child and gives up easily when it comes to climbing things. The round grippy rocks in this park make it easy for every kid to succeed when climbing. You actually have to watch your kids a bit because they can climb too high quickly! The path is fairly easy to follow here, and the hike is just short enough to get through without a toddler meltdown.” —SHANTI HODGES

INSIDER’S TIP
Junior Ranger hikes happen often in this park so check for times on these. They usually start at 10 a.m. and are out of Barker Dam. If you want to camp for the weekend and didn’t set yourself up ahead of time, plan on being there by Thursday morning to get a weekend campground. Also, there are a number of campgrounds outside of the park, like Joshua Tree Lake Campground, that are easy to-get spots most of the year and are a quick drive into the park.

Share This Trail

Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, and Winter
Surface type Dirt
Elevation gain 200 ft.
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains No
Bathrooms Yes
Cell reception None
Pet friendly No
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby Yes
Emergency support
within 5 miles
No

Trail highlights

Camping Nearby, Junior Ranger Program, Picnic Area, Rockclimbing, and Visitor Center

Trail Contributor

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

Hike it Baby Trail Guide is managed by the Family Trail Guide team. If a trail has been “abandoned” by the initial owner, it gets adopted by the team. Also, if there are no trails in the area, the Family Trail Guide team researches trails that are family friendly in the area to insure that hikes cover all areas where Hike it Baby hikes.

Weather

Trail Map