Score massive deals on the best outdoor gear   Get on the GEAR DEALS list   sent weekly to your inbox


Hike Queen Mountain Trail

Joshua Tree National Park

Get the eGuide
Hike Queen Mountain Trail pano

3.7 Mi


2 - 3



Gain (ft)
4 Star Quality



Queen Mountain is the slightly more challenging sibling to Ryan Mountain. An unmaintained trail climbs 1100 feet over the course of 1.8 miles to a summit with some of the best views of Joshua Tree National Park. This is a one of my favorite hikes in the park and is a great way to test your route finding skills while also attaining some solitude in an otherwise busy part of the park.

Hike Queen Mountain Trail Map Hike Queen Mountain Trail Elevation Profile

The route up Queen Mountain is fairly easy to follow, but a map and compass are must-haves for this hike. It’s easy to get turned around, which can quickly lead to becoming lost - make sure you’re prepared with the proper equipment and experience before attempting this hike.

Marker Trailhead

From the trailhead, walk north following a social trail for 0.3 miles as it winds to the crest of a small hill. Continue northeast for another 0.4 miles to the flank of the mountain.

Marker A

At this point, the trail begins to slowly fade. Look for cairns as you steadily climb 600 feet over the next 0.6 miles, eventually leveling out on a small plateau.

Ascending the flank of Queen Mountain

The steady ascent up the southern flank of Queen Mountain

Marker B

This is where the trail disappears and route finding skills are put to the test. Queen Mountain has two peaks of similar height. The route follows a light colored gully in between these two summits to a saddle. From the plateau you’re at, the gully is visible a short distance to the northeast.

Approaching the Gully

Approaching the gully from the small plateau

Marker C

Follow the path of least resistance to ascend 200 feet up the gully to a saddle between the two peaks. Multiple social trails and cairns provide an array of possible paths.

Marker D

The eastern peak is the true summit of Queen Mountain. Wrap around the northern side of the peak for a walk-up approach, or scramble directly towards the summit for a more challenging option.

Queen Mountain Saddle

The saddle between Queen Mountain's two peaks

Marker E

The views from the top of Queen Mountain are some of the best in the park. Look for the Wonderland of Rocks and Mount San Gorgonio to the west, Twentynine Palms to the north, Ryan Mountain and San Jacinto Peak to the southwest, the Pine City area to the east, and Pinto Basin to the southeast. A summit register is located under a large flat rock near a wire cactus.

Wire Cactus

A wire cactus marks the summit of Queen Mountain

Queen Mountain Summit Panorama

Panorama of the Wonderland of Rocks from the summit

There are two options to descend -- either retrace your steps, or create a loop hike by following the gully south as it drops 1000 feet in 0.8 miles to a wash. Loose sand and rock make it a slippery descent, so move carefully and take your time with either option.

Descending the gully

Descend the gully to the bottom to make it a loop hike

Marker F

Follow the wash as it winds southwest for 0.7, passing a small, dry fall along the way.


Dryfall on the loop hike option

Marker G

Exit the wash near the small hill that’s close to the trailhead. San Jacinto Peak is a good landmark to head towards as you cross country travel another 0.4 miles to the parking lot. If you overshoot the turn, continue down the wash until it intersects with the road. From there, turn north and you’ll quickly find your way back to the trailhead.

San Jacinto

Use San Jacinto Mountain to guide you back to the trailhead


  • To get there, look for an unsigned dirt road 1.7 miles east of Sheep Pass or 0.7 miles west of Geology Tour Road. Turn north and continue straight for 1.9 miles to the terminus of the road.
  • Driving Directions

    Permits & Fees

  • $25 : Joshua Tree Entrance Fee


  • September - May

What's Nearby?

Pine City Trail

Pine City Trail

Wall Street Mill Trail

Wall Street Mill Trail

Sheep Pass Campground

Sheep Pass Campground

Have you hiked up Queen Mountain?

Share your experience below!