High View Nature Trail, Joshua Tree National Park

High View Nature Trail (Joshua Tree National Park)

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High View Nature Trail (Joshua Tree National Park)

  • Location: High desert near Yucca Valley.  From I-10, take Highway 62 northeast for 21.8 miles.  Turn right on Joshua Lane (opposite highway 247).  Go 4.6 miles to a T-junction at San Marino Drive.  Turn right and follow San Marino Drive to Black Rock Canyon Road.  Drive 0.3 miles to the campground entrance. Just before the campground, turn right on a dirt road and follow it 0.8 mile to its ending at a small clearing. The signed High View Nature Trail starts on the south side of the road.
  • Agency: Joshua Tree National Park
  • Distance: 1.3 miles
  • Elevation gain: 350 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: G
  • Suggested time: 45 minutes
  • Best season:  November – April
  • Dogs: Not allowed
  • Cell phone reception: Good for most of the route; weak to none in some spots
  • Water: None
  • Restrooms: At the visitor center by the campground
  • Camping/backpacking: The trail is a short distance from Black Rock Canyon Campground ($20 per night). Tent, RV and equestrian camping are available there.
  • Recomended gear:
  • More information: trip descriptions here and here
  • Rating: 7

Tucked in the northwestern corner of Joshua Tree National Park, the short but scenic High View Nature Trail’s location near Black Rock Canyon makes it an ideal addition alongside a longer trip to Warren Point or Eureka Peak. At over 4,000 feet in elevation, its vantage point provides views across Big Morongo Canyon to the eastern end of the San Bernardino Mountains and also of the high desert to the north.

The loop is enjoyable to hike in either direction. The numbered posts (brochures are available at the nearby Black Rock visitors center) follow the route in the clockwise direction, but by hiking counter-clockwise, the ascent is less steep and the best views are saved for last. Follow the trail past a junction with the West Side Loop and along a west-facing slope. You pass many Joshua trees as well as juniper bushes, pinion pines creosote, cacti and wildflowers during the spring. A few benches provide places to rest and enjoy the quiet. Half a mile from the start, a staircase of stones embedded in the dirt ascends to a ridge leading to the high point (4,490 feet, three quarters of a mile from the start) with views of Yucca Valley and the Black Rock Canyon area of Joshua Tree.

From the view point, begin your descent. You switchback along the ridge and follow a north facing slope before dropping back down to another junction with the West Side Loop (1.2 miles from the start.) In just 0.1 mile more, you’ll return to the parking area.


Joshua Tree National Park, High View Nature Trail
Joshua trees on the High View Nature Trail
High View Nature Trail, Joshua Tree National Park
High View Nature Trail
High View Nature Trail, Joshua Tree National Park
Looking north from the vista point
High View Nature Trail, Joshua Tree National Park
Pinion pine, High View Nature Trail


Text and photography copyright 2016 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

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