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I think I vaguely knew of the Hidden Valley trail in Joshua Tree before going, but didn’t really remember it. When we got to the park and saw the Hidden Valley sign, though, I knew we had to do it.
It’s the perfect short hike to get to know Joshua Tree taking you into a little, well, hidden valley. We stopped in the campground first just to check it out and watched some people rock climb for a bit before heading over to the trail.
We parked and hit the trail. It starts out as a little stone staircase cutting through the boulder pile mountain things that are all over the park. Once you get through that, you’re in the valley!
It opens up to a big courtyard, basically and the trail is a loop around the edge of it. At the fork we went left and made our way through some more boulders, admiring plants along the way.
Eventually it will curve to the right and you’ll sort of have a view of the courtyard towards where you started, but it’s a little lower so you can’t see the beginning.
There is a short section as you come around the next curve where you will start to go uphill and there are a few more stair type areas. You’ll be passing through more boulder hill mountain things but not like at the beginning, they’re just on both sides.
We all really liked this trail and it’s a fun, easy hike to get a small taste of what the park has to offer. It’s a beautiful area and great for spotting cool plants, too.
It’s also a great place to do some boulder/rock scrambling if you like that. The Chasm of Doom is also right here, so if you do like scrambling, that could be a fun hike.
I haven’t done it but I really want to. If that looks a little too tough for you, no worries. We saw people up on some of the boulders along the trail on the left after going left at the fork.
There isn’t really any shade here after the beginning stairs, so be sure to wear sunscreen and/or a hat and bring lots of water even though it’s a short hike, especially in hotter months. There may be some shade spots but not a ton.
National Park Goodies
- If you’re planning to visit three or more national parks within a year from your trip, definitely get the America the Beautiful pass. It will save you money in the long run if you’re going to more than three parks in a year. Buy the pass here.
- If you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking on your trip, or even at home, check out AllTrails! This is my favorite app to find, keep track of, and track my hiking activity. And it’s FREE! Sign up here.
- This Ultimate National Park Planning Bundle is a must-have. You get two ebooks and a planner, saving 50% by getting them as a bundle! If you want all the details, this is the bundle for you. Buy the Ultimate bundle here.
- This National Park Planner (one of the ebooks from the bundle above) is perfect if you just want some guidance in your planning. Buy the planner here.
- Get yourself a little National Park notebook to write all about your adventures while you’re on the road. These from Field Notes are all very cute! If you want one for all of the NPS sites (400+!) then this one is for you!
- Before your trip, get some national park apparel for your trip!
- Consider reading some of these books set in national parks before your big trip, on your adventure, or once you get home to take you back to the parks until next time.
Where is the Hidden Valley trail in Joshua Tree?
The Hidden Valley trailhead is right by the Hidden Valley picnic area, on the opposite side of the road as the Hidden Valley campground. The trailhead is to the left of the bathrooms, to the right of the picnic area.
How long is the Hidden Valley hike?
This is a one-mile loop and doesn’t take too long. If you’re not stopping as much as we did, an hour should be plenty of time to do the whole thing.
Is the Hidden Valley Hike easy?
Yes! The trail isn’t paved and there are some stairs at the beginning but it’s an easy hike without tons of elevation change.
Is the Hidden Valley trail worth it?
Yes! I loved this trail a lot and would definitely recommend it. If you don’t have tons of time in the park, I would definitely try and fit this one in. If you have a whole day, it’s a must-do.
Have you hike the Hidden Valley Trail in Joshua Tree? What did you think of it? What is your favorite Joshua Tree hike? DO you want to do it?