Joshua Tree: Lost Palms Oasis

Trailhead: 33.736992, -115.810888
Length: 7.2
Elevation Gain: 422 ft.
Difficulty: Not strenuous, but completely exposed
Total time: 3.5 hours
Dogs: Negatory
Parking: You have to pay to get into Joshua Tree. There is parking at the trail head


When you visit Joshua Tree, you’re probably over in the Jumbo Rock area of the park, going “Oh, this is the coolest thing ever, nothing is better than this, blah blah blah” but you’re wrong.

Lost Palms Oasis is awesome. I mean, the first part of the trail after Cottonwood Springs is pretty blah, but after that it gets amazing.  The trail leads you to the largest concentration of  native fan palms in Joshua Tree. On the way there you see beautiful rock formations in the canyons, tons of ocotillo cacti, and get an amazing view of the desert, including the Salton Sea.


You don’t really need many. The trail is extremely well marked, and if you get lost, you probably shouldn’t be hiking to begin with. Get to the parking lot and follow the signs.

When you get to the end, you’ll see some incredibly impressive views of the Oasis. You can also hike down into the Oasis, which is more tricky, as the trail is not maintained. When I went there was quite a bit of brush that made good nesting grounds for rattlesnakes which I had to ward off because the person I was with at the time was a 6’3″ baby.


I  went at the beginning of May, so the wildflowers were few and far between, but I hear it’s amazing in early spring. Also, due to the exposure I did end up getting overheated so I had to pour water over my head and sit in the one sliver of shade there was on the trail.

On your way back you can also take a side trip to Mastodon Peak (unfortunately no mastodons live there) which takes you by the ruins of a mine and an old village. I TOLD YOU THIS TRAIL IS COOL.

I did not take this side trip, though, because of that overheating thing.

One big drawback to this hike is that it IS at the other end of the park, away from all the other sites, so I’m going to help you plan out your trip. Ready?

  1. Spend a day or two or whatever you want visiting the okay but not as impressive stuff near Jumbo Rock.
  2. Stay the night at Cottonwood Campground which is near the trailhead (AND HAS RUNNING WATER!!!)
  3. Hike Lost Palms Oasis in the morning
  4. Exit the park on the other side. You can get to the 10 from there and go home OR even better, visit the Salton Sea

Man, I’m so good at this planning stuff. I’m basically but for hiking. Ooh, new website idea. for all your hiking trips!


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