Bajada Nature Trail, Joshua Tree National Park

Bajada Nature Trail (Joshua Tree National Park)


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  • Location: Joshua Tree National Park. From I-10 east of Indio, take exit 168 (Cottonwood Springs Rd.) Head north for 1.5 miles. The trail head will be on your right. If you are coming from the north, the trail head will be 5.5 miles south of the Cottonwood Visitor Center.
  • Agency: Joshua Tree National Park
  • Distance: 0.3 mile
  • Elevation gain: Level
  • Difficulty Rating: G
  • Suggested time: 15 minutes
  • Best season:  Year round but hot during the summer
  • Dogs: Not allowed
  • Cell phone reception: Good
  • Water: None
  • Restrooms: None
  • Camping: None
  • More information: Trip descriptions here and here
  • Rating: 4

This short, accessible trail is worth keeping in mind not only for those visiting Joshua Tree National Park but as a leg-stretching stop for drivers heading east on Interstate 10. It is located only a few minutes from the freeway and parking is free.

At 1,900 feet above sea level, the Bajada Nature Trail is lower in elevation than much of the park; as a result, you will not find any Joshua trees here as they are native to the higher elevations of the Mojave Desert. What you will find is a surprising diversity of Colorado desert plants that thrive in the moisture that has accumulated from runoff from the higher slopes. A series of plaques identifies what you see before you, including ocotillo, ironwood, palo verde and mistletoe. The short trail also features views of the Little San Bernardino, San Jacinto and Santa Rosa ranges. The only downside is the noise from the freeway, but considering this trail’s convenient location, that’s a small price to pay.

Bajada Trail, Joshua Tree National Park
Creosote bush on the Bajada Nature Trail
Bajada Nature Trail, Joshua Tree National Park
Dead ironwood tree, Bajada Nature Trail
Bajada Nature Trail, Joshua Tree National Park
Mistletoe, Bajada Nature Trail
Bajada Nature Trail, Joshua Tree National Park
Palo Verde, Bajada Nature Trail

Text and photography copyright 2017  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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