Joshua Tree West Side Trail

This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
5.0 km
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
91 m
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Directions to Trailhead

The Joshua Tree West Side Trail is ideal for those seeking a stunning hike without wanting to drive too far into the park's interior. The route boasts scenic views and an abundance of opportunities to see wildlife and desert vegetation characteristic of Joshua Tree National Park. Unique rock formations can be found throughout the route and are both picturesque and beautiful.

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Route Description for Joshua Tree West Side Trail

While not an extraordinarily challenging hike, it is important to keep in mind that navigation along the Joshua Tree West Side Trail can be difficult. Many sections throughout the route are poorly marked, so it is important to ensure that your skills and equipment are sufficient enough to attempt the route. Likewise, depending on the time of year, it is also recommended that you do the hike earlier in the day or later in the evening to avoid the midday heat.

After leaving your vehicle in the lot, cross the road where the trailhead is located. Follow the trail east for a few hundred meters until you reach a junction. At the junction, follow the North Canyon Trail to the north through what is relatively flat terrain. Keep doing so until you reach a second junction.

At the second junction, continue north for a few hundred feet until you reach a third junction. At the third junction, take the eastern trail towards a stream that may or may not have water flowing—it all depends on the time of year. Having passed the stream, continue following the path northwards as it slowly gains elevation. You will then arrive at a fourth junction, where you will follow a trail called the Burro Loop Trail west back across the previously mentioned stream.

Continue along the Burro Loop Trail until you arrive at the West Access Trail, where you will take the path south towards the North Side Trail. Having reached the North Side Trail, follow it southeast all the way back to the trailhead.

Getting to the Joshua Tree West Side Trail Trailhead

The trailhead can be found adjacent to the parking lot on Park Boulevard.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground


  • When to do

    Year Round

  • Pets allowed


  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage


  • Crowd Levels


  • Route Type


Joshua Tree West Side Trail Elevation Graph

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