I'd wanted to hike the Boy Scout Trail in Joshua Tree since my friend Dave told me about it. But the hike is usually done as a shuttle hike and I could never find any one who wanted to hike it with me. Dave has property in JT, but we were never there at the same time. Once, when I was camping in Indian Cove, I tried to get some other friends to give me a ride to the trail head in the main part of the park. Then I could hike back to Indian Cove. However, it was deemed that it was too dangerous for me to hike alone and these friends weren't interested in hiking with me. I talked to everyone I know who liked to hike about the hike. No one was remotely interested.
Finally, I convinced my husband that he would enjoy the hike. As I was going to drive to Joshua Tree, before going to Nevada and Arizona, he could fly to Ontario, rent a car and meet me in Joshua Tree. We could leave the rental car at one end, and drive my car to the other. Success at last!
The hike was beautiful. Going from the main part of the park to Indian Cove you start off hiking through stands of joshua trees. When we started hiking, the sky was clear and the tempatures mild.
The view from the trail
After a mile or so we saw the sign to Willow Cove, which fit with my trail desription. (an aside; Willow Cove is on my list for next time I am in the park). Gradually we began to see juniper and pine trees. At this point, we were skirting the Wonderland of Rocks and the trail changes, going from a highway to a less distinct, but still easy to follow, trail. We crossed through various washes before beginning to walk through another wash. I was worried a bit about missing the descent into Indian Cove, but it the trail was well described in Joshua Tree on Foot
. After we knew we were still on route, we stopped under a large pine tree and had lunch. It was still sunny and was fairly warm.
To me, the most dramatic part of the hike is reaching the top of the canyon you descend get to Indian Cove.
Descending to Indian Cove
As soon as we reached the top of the canyon, the landscape changed becoming quite rocky, with few trees. At the same time it started clouding over and became quite cool. We stopped and put on rain jackets. The descent was quite rapid and we wound up in a sandy wash. About the same time it began sprinkling and the skies got darker. As we walked along I was a bit worried about a flash flood, so I kept on looking at the walls of the wash and made sure I could scramble up them. There were a lot of flowers in the wash and if I hadn't been concerned, I would have spent more time taking pictures. The wash broadened out into a alluvial fan. From there we slogged through the sand and creosote bushes to the car. It was sort of comical, because at every the top of every little rise we thought we would be able to see the trail head. But we didn't and walking began to seem endless. Eventually, we did see the car and we headed back the main part of the park to get my car.
We went to Yucca Valley for Dinner. It was very windy and started raining; I was glad not to be camping.
Details . . .
Length: 8 miles one way
Elevation loss or gain: about ~1200 feet
Trailheads: Quail Springs Back Country Board (about 0.5 miless past Quail Springs Picnic Area & Trashcan Rock). There is a sign and large parking lot; it is hard to miss. or Indian Cove Back Coutry Board.