Reportedly, Bill Keys dynamited a few boulders to allow cattle to gain entrance in 1921. I’m not sure if that story is true or not but Hidden Valley certainly would make for a good corral. A sign along the nature trail says it happened in 1936, so sources vary.
The trailhead sign for the trail 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 involved over at the Desert Queen Mine too.
The trailhead is easy to find in the Hidden Valley Picnic Area of Joshua Tree National Park. It is on the right and near the restroom as you drive into the paved parking lot.
Easy, 1 miles (1.6km), 170 ft (52m) gain round trip. 30 minutes.
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. And while it’s unlikely you will 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 a great walk for children.