Route DescriptionThe trailhead is located just beyond the parking lot at Cottonwood Springs in Joshua Tree National Park. Once you pick up the trail on the east side of the parking lot you'll come to a large open area that holds the remains of an old springwell which was once used by the Cahuilla Indian's. There are a few signs with some history on them - pretty interesting, take the time to read them. Be sure to pick up the trail again heading east and not south.
For the first quarter mile there is a steady incline. The trail here is easy on the feet until you get to the top of the incline where it becomes a bit more rocky. At the top of the incline the trail continues on eastward. After another .25 miles you will come to the trail junction where you will pick up the northward trail leading to the Peak.
The route up can be strenous, especially in the heat of the summer, as you climb along steep cliff sides on narrow pathways and up large rock steps. The trail towards the peak offers endless oportunities to do some scrambling over huge boulders alongside the trail. Before you know it, the boulder formation ontop of the Peak will come into view as you round a west/north bend in the trail.
Though the route up is short, the steep climb and the views from the peak are very rewarding.
Getting ThereTaken from my Lost Palms Oasis page. HERE
The easiest way to get to this trail is by The 10 (California Interstate 10). About 30 miles east of Palm Springs you'll begin to see signs for Joshua Tree National Park and Box Canyon Road. Box Canyon rd/Cottonwood Rd (the exit is unmarked) is a right exit on both sides of the road.
If you're coming from the West, take a left at the end of the exit ramp. If you're coming from the East, it'll be a right at the end of the exit ramp. Follow the road north, gaining 1000 ft in elevation, for seven miles until you get to the Cottonwood Ranger Station which sits on the right side of the road.
Head inside, pay the park entrance fee at the ranger station and then get back onto the road, heading east, and follow the signs for "Cottonwood Springs." You can't miss it, especially if you get a map from the station. The trailhead is at the very end of the road (about half a mile from the station).
If you are coming from any point in the north, CA rt. 58 runs from Bakersfield to Barstow, I-15 and I-40 meet juntion in Barstow as well. From here take CA rt. 247 and then get on CA rt. 62E (Twentynine Palms Highway) until you come to the entrance to the park on Park Blvd. on the right. CA rt. 395 south also junctions with CA rt. 58.
If you enter from the north, continue following Park Blvd until it meets up with Pinto Basin Rd. Make a right and make the long drive to the Cottonwood Spring Ranger Station.
Essential GearBackpack and treking poles.
Sunglasses and sunscreen. Pack a lunch and enjoy it up top in the warm desert breeze.