Indian Cove Nature Loop

Joshua Tree
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Indian Cove Nature Loop

Distance: 0.6mi
Elevation: 72ft
Time: 0.25 - 0.5h

Difficulty Rating:

This short, flat nature loop takes hikers through the desert area of Indian Cove. With information signs illustrating local botany and great views of the rock towers in the area, this is a thoroughly enjoyable little hike.

Getting there

Enter the park just west of Palm Springs via Indian Cove Road, with signs towards the Indian Cove Campground. Drive up this road till its terminus, the Indian Cove Campground. Turn right and navigate your way through the campground as far right as you can go. Find a small parking lot with signs for the interpretive loop trail at the far western tip of the campground. If you get lost in the network of small roads, just ask the campground ranger where to go – they will be more than happy to help!


When to do

Spring and Fall, avoid summer heat

Backcountry Campsites



At trailhead in campground

Family friendly


Route Signage


Crowd Levels


Route Type



Detailed Description

This short loop trail is almost completely flat. However, for some mysterious reason it does not have that many signs! There are many unmarked junctions along the trail, but it is difficult to actually get lost. If you are completing the loop clockwise, always turn right at a junction, and similarly if you are going counter clockwise, always turn left.

Along the path you will find a number of informative signs. These describe the natural plant life of the desert environment and show how Native Americans used the plants medicinal properties throughout history.

Looking east, you will be able to see the massive monzogranite towers of Indian Cove. These are popular with rock climbers, so keep your eye out. We also suggest taking a walk through the campground to get a more intimate view of the rocks – they are literally everywhere!

Halfway through the hike you will enter a wash – a dried up creek-bed which flows during the flash floods which occur irregularly in the region. It is typically the most efficient way to cross this type of country. The only downside is that you will typically be hiking loose sand, which is not only somewhat challenging to walk in, but also gets in your shoes.

Finally you will climb out of the wash and return to the parking area.

Insider Hints

  • Indian Cove can be the hottest part of the park, especially when there is a lot of sun and no wind.

  • Consider hiring a climbing guide in Joshua Tree town to take you climbing at the moderate crags of Indian Cove.

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