Hidden Valley

Reportedly, Bill Keys dynamited a few boulders in 1921 to allow cattle to gain entrance. I’m unsure if that story is true, but Hidden Valley certainly would make for a great corral. A sign along the nature trail says it happened in 1936, so sources vary.

The sign at the trailhead mentions how, in the 1870s, the McHaney Gang rustled cattle and horses from Southern California and Arizona and hid out in the area but not inside of Hidden Valley itself. The McHaneys were also involved over at the Desert Queen Mine.


  • Hike: Easy hike, 1 mile Loop, 120 ft gain round trip. 30 minutes.

The trailhead is easy to find in the Hidden Valley Picnic Area of Joshua Tree National Park. It is on the right, near the restroom, as you drive into the paved parking lot.

Hidden Valley (like nearby Barker Dam) is one of those quintessential hikes in Joshua Tree. It is included here because of that fact. It is popular and quite beautiful.

The simple short loop trail is more of a nature trail than a hike, but it is still well worth doing if you've never been on it before. While you will unlikely be alone on this trail, that shouldn’t stop you from walking this loop at least once. This completely enclosed valley is a quick way to marvel at a section of the Wonderland of Rocks. It is also an excellent walk for children.

See also:

Barker Dam
It goes without saying that water is important in the desert and in Joshua Tree that is no different. A rancher by the name of C.O. Barker built the dam around 1902 to improve the natural tank here for his cattle. Along with the nearby Cow Camp reservoir, it
Desert Queen and Eagle Cliff Mines
This old trail leads to a couple of historic mines and a hidden rock cabin. This is a must-see for Joshua Tree. History Desert Queen Mine The Desert Queen is one of the largest mines in the park and also has an equally large history. Frank James first discovered the


Hidden Valley - Starbuck.org - CalTopo
Hidden Valley - Starbuck.org

To download waypoints and routes, open the Map in CalTopo, click Export (in the top left corner), and change the format to KML or GPX.

  • Hidden Valley Trailhead: 34.0124°, -116.1681°
  • Hidden Valley Arch: 34.01425°, -116.17324°