Hiking activities in Joshua Tree National Park
A 35-mile-long stretch of the California Riding & Hiking Trail, administered by California State Parks, passes through Joshua Tree; plan two to three days to hike the trail through the park. To protect fragile soil crusts (cryptobiotic soil) which allow plant life to grow and keep the desert from blowing away, stay on established trails.
Leave the car behind to appreciate Joshua Tree's trippy lunar landscapes. Visitor centers provide maps and advice about the 12 short nature walks and six hiking trails. For the kids, pick up a Junior Ranger booklet and ask which trails are most kid-friendly. If you don't have a lot of time, the 0.25-mile Skull Rock Loop is an easy loop, as is Keys View Trail, which provides views of the entire Coachella Valley.