Joshua Tree National Park

Barker Dam Loop visits a small foreign-looking reservoir within the Wonderland of Rocks in Joshua Tree National Park. Hikers of all abilities will enjoy this level 1.5-mile hike. The water can all but disappear during the dry season.

The well-marked loop is easy to follow and easy to hike. From the parking lot, take the trail heading northwest toward Barker Dam. There are two well-marked trails leaving from this trailhead, so be sure do not take the other trail heading northeast toward Wall Street Mill. Tall mounds of boulders rise on either side, and then suddenly, the trail emerges along the shore of a small blue lake. The stagnant waters look out of place in this desert landscape, but the site is quite calm and worthy of a relaxing break from trekking in the desert.

Turn left and follow the shoreline toward the dam itself. Barker Dam was build over a century ago by ranchers eager to save up some of the desert’s most vital resource, water. The trail turns west, leaves the lake and enters a flat piece of desert that is home to several tall Joshua trees. Follow the sandy track as it loops back toward the start.

A marked turnoff visits a rock covered in vivid petroglyphs. These Native America drawings had their colors enhanced by a film crew working on an old Hollywood movie, which explains why they look too colorful to be real. Beyond the petroglyphs, continue along the trail. When it comes to a T, make a right to return to the parking lot. There is only 100 feet of elevation gain along this 1.5-mile long nature loop, making it a suitable excursion for anyone visiting Joshua Tree National Park.

74485 National Park Dr
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

DIRECTIONS: About 2.5 hours from our area. Take the US 101-S to the I-10 East to San Bernardino. Go 97.3 miles and and exit onto CA-62 E/29 Palms Hwy/Twentynine Palms Highway toward 29 Palms/Yucca Valley. Turn Right onto National Park Drive. From the well-marked turnoff, drive north for 1.5 miles to the large parking area for Barker Dam. This trailhead is located near the west end of an unpaved road that crosses through Joshua Tree from Desert Queen Mine.