Cap Rock is home to one of Joshua Tree National Park’s shortest trail and a picnic area. The picnic area is a great little spot for taking a lunch break, especially on cooler days. There are two clusters of tables along with one more tucked a little farther back. The large rock pile that sits just north of these tables acts like a huge solar oven. While this is an awesome way to warm up after a cold night, it gets HOT here in warmer months.
A pit toilet, garbage and recycling, and a short trail are also available at this spot. You might see rock climbers enjoying the easier routes on the north side of Cap Rock -- it’s a popular spot for groups.
For the nature trail, locate the obvious trail near the pit toilet. Interpretive signs dot the route and are well worth stopping to read as you stroll along this 0.5 mile loop. The route circles the large rock mound southeast of the parking lot, winding through two small rock canyons as you go. This is a nice hike to do if you are stopping for lunch at the picnic area, or want a quick glimpse into the flora and fauna of the region.
The Cap Rock Nature Trail provides some excellent views of Ryan Mountain.