A short loop trail that highlights some of the most fascinating scenery in Joshua Tree National Park. Wander among towering Joshua trees, climb massive boulders, view petroglyphs etched into the rock and see remnants of an old ranching dam.

The Barker Damn trail is a 1.5 mile loop trail across flat terrain which makes it great for the whole family. The hike starts out from the Barker Dam parking lot which is shared with the Wall Street Mill trailhead. You can find the Barker Dam trailhead just to the left of the bathrooms. After 0.2 miles straight on the trail, you'll hit the loop and can continue in either direction. You can reach the dam in either direction, but if you go right (counter-clockwise), the dam is only 0.2 miles away. The trail is well marked with signage and informative guides so it's a great hike for the less experienced.

Depending on the time of year you visit and the state of California's drought, there may be little water at the dam. If you're hoping to catch a rare view of water in the desert, the best time is to visit in the winter.

While most people come for the dam, the diversity of scenery on the trail is an under-appreciated part of the hike. At dusk, the way the sunlight hits the rocks and Joshua trees is magical. There are also countless areas to stop off and scramble up boulders for views across the park. Whatever your intentions are for this hike, the signage above the dam describes this adventure perfectly... a quiet place in a noisy world.

Pack List

  • Sunblock
  • Water (there's no water available in the park)
  • Camera
  • Snacks / Picnic
  • Hiking Boots
  • Rock Climbing gear if you plan to climb
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RT Distance 1.5 Miles
Activities Chillin, Photography, Running, Hiking, Rock Climbing
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Scenic

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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