Hike The Short But Sweet Creosote Trail In Joshua Tree National Park

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I loved Joshua Tree. We really didn’t even do that much there but I liked it a lot. We stayed in Twentynine Palms which has a park entrance (it’s less busy if you want to avoid the west entrance crowds) but went in on the west side by the town of Joshua Tree.

We stopped for coffee then headed into the park. We had no plan and nothing specific we wanted to see. The first stop was the Creosote Trail which isn’t really marked in any way.

creosote bush at Joshua tree national park
Poofy fluffs on a creosote bush

It was just at the first parking area where it said “exhibit ahead” and I think it’s a stretch to call it an exhibit. It was just one sign about dinosaurs or prehistoric life here, I think.

Most of the big pull outs have “exhibit ahead” signs with little or no information, maybe just a trail. Some of the trails are official and marked or have a name but some are just vague trails to boudlers.

That’s not bad, of course, I’m just not sure why there are so many “exhibit ahead” signs with so little information. Doesn’t matter, They’re great stops either way.

creosote trail at Joshua tree national park

Today is just about the half-mile Creosote Trail in Joshua Tree, the rest is for another day. At the trail sign, there is a vague fork, go to the left.

From here the trail is super easy to follow and will eventually end at another fork. Here, we just turned back the way we came.

If you want to hike more here, you can keep going either way. The Bigfoot and Panorama Trails are both fairly long (4+ miles) but you can turn around anytime, of course.

california barrel cactus at Joshua tree national park
Barrel Cactus

The Creosote Trail isn’t paved but is easy to follow. While it isn’t the most exciting trail ever, it’s a good one if you want to not be around tons of people and want to do something easy.

The trail is named for the creosote bushes that dot the trail. These have little fluffy white puffs on them. I had no idea what a creosote bush looked like before this, but I like them.

It’s a great first look at Joshua Trees and I got to see a great barrel cactus, too. We didn’t see other people on the trail until we were on our way out.

landscape at Joshua tree national park

There were a couple close to the turnaround point then we saw quite a few more near the trailhead and parking area. There were two separate groups of people climbing the boulders there, too, and they were so loud, wooing and yelling on top of them. It was pretty annoying.

But we were on our way out in no time and onto the next exhibit ahead. While it wasn’t the best trail ever, it was a nice short walk and I’m glad we did it.

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three large joshua trees at Joshua tree national park

Where is the Creosote Trail in Joshua Tree?

I literally cannot find anything about this trail. It doesn’t show up on maps, but it leaves from the same trailhead as the Panorama Trail, Bigfoot Trail, and Samuleson West Trail.

I think the first section of the trail that leads to the bigger fork is technically the Creosote Trail. There is a fork right at the beginning, this is to the left.

The trailhead is about 5.5 miles from the town of Joshua tree, on the right not too far after the West Entrance Station. I don’t think it was marked very well, but there was a sign that mentioned an exhibit, I think. There are a lot of those but this was I think the first.

There is a little sign by the beginning of the trail that says Creosote Trail and I believe the exhibit here was about dinosaurs (I could be wrong) or something about prehistoric life in the area.

joshua trees with mountains in the background at Joshua tree national park

How long is the Creosote Trail?

The sign say it’s 0.5 miles but I want to say that is one way. Either way, it’s a pretty short trail and it’s easy, too. It’s pretty flat the whole way.

You shouldn’t need much time for this one if you don’t stop much or walk fast. We took our time but were still probably on this trail for less than 45 minutes.

Joshua tree national park mountains and joshua trees

Is the Creosote Trail worth it?

It’s not the most thrilling hike in Joshua Tree but I did enjoy it and we only saw a couple of other people so I would say yes. It’s also a short fairly quick trail so it won’t take up tons of time.

If you already have a ton of hikes planned, you could skip this but if you’re just going with the flow, it’s a nice one that’s close to the entrance and doesn’t take more than 45 minutes, less if you walk fast or don’t stop much.

Have you hiked the Creosote Trail in Joshua Tree? What did you think of it? Do you want to do it?

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