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Hike Hidden Valley Nature Trail

Joshua Tree National Park

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Hike Hidden Valley Nature Trail pano

1.0 Mi


30 - 60



Gain (ft)
4 Star Quality



The 1 mile lollipop trail through Hidden Valley is one of my favorite nature trails in the park. You’ll see a variety of Mojave Desert flora, learn about the rich cattle rustling history of the valley, and watch rock climbers scale popular walls along this trail.

Hidden Valley also has the nicest picnic area in the park. 16 picnic tables dot the periphery of the parking lot in rocky nooks shaded by pinyon pines. There are also a number of easy to find caves perfect for kids to explore.

Hike Hidden Valley Nature Trail Map
Marker TH

Start from the trailhead on the northwest corner of the parking lot. The trail quickly winds through a small gap in the rocks before opening up upon this naturally secluded valley.

Hidden Valley entrance

Overlooking Hidden Valley from the entrance

Marker A

Numerous interpretive signs are located along this lollipop providing a little more information about the flora, fauna, and history of this area. The trail is easy to follow, though you should pay attention to where rock barriers are put in place -- there are a lot of climber’s trails that could potentially lead you astray.

Interpretive Signs in Hidden Valley

Interpretive signs dot the path

Marker B

At mile 0.6, a small wash marks the backside of the valley, notice how there is more vegetation here. Shade, water, and wind protection form microclimates more suitables for pinyon pine and junipers to thrive than the barren flat desert outside these walls.

Hidden Valley wash

A wash leading out the backside of Hidden Valley

Highlight #1

Legend has it that in the 1870s two brothers, Bill and Jim, formed the McHaney Gang out of a group of cowboys. The gang stole cattle in Arizona and herded them to this isolated valley where they could be rebranded before being sold in distance markets. Supposedly they did well for themselves until the area became more respectable at the end of the 19th century.

Highlight #2

Bill Keys later blasted a larger opening to the valley in order to graze his own livestock in the 1930s, just months before Joshua Tree was designated as a national monument.

Complete the loop hike and stop to consider the human impact on this landscape before heading back to your car.


  • Hidden Valley day-use area is located on the south side of Park Boulevard, 12 miles west of the junction with Pinto Basin Road, and 9 miles east of the west entrance.
  • Driving Directions

    Permits & Fees

  • $25 : Joshua Tree Entrance Fee


  • Year Round

What's Nearby?

Hidden Valley Campground

Hidden Valley Campground

Barker Dam Trail

Barker Dam Trail

Willow Hole Trail

Willow Hole Trail

Have you explored Hidden Valley?

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