Split Rock Trail

  • Difficulty
  • 3.2km
  • 37m
  • 0.75-1h
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Weaving in and out of towering cliffs, slick boulders, and one of the densest collections of rock formations in the park, the Split Rock Trail is a photographer’s dream. Throughout this relatively easy flat loop trail you can enjoy amazing atmosphere, suitable for the whole family.

Getting there

The fastest way to get to the trail, even from Joshua Tree Town, is through 29 Palms. If coming from Joshua Tree Town, head east along Highways 62 (29 Palms Highway) towards 29 Palms. Turn right onto Utah Trail, with signs for Joshua Tree National Park. After entering the park and paying your dues, follow Park Boulevard for just under seven miles. Turn right towards the picnic area marked as Split Rock. Follow the dirt road to the trailhead.


Total Gain: 37m


Type of Hike Loop
Crowd Levels Moderate
Route Signage Excellent
Toilets At trailhead
Family Friendly Yes
Backcountry Campgrounds None
When to Do Spring and Fall, avoid summer heat

 Detailed Description

This well marked loop can be completed in either direction. Simply, follow the trail from the parking lot and take your pick! The hike remains almost completely flat for its entirety, making it fantastic for young children, older folks, or those just wanting a quick jaunt in the park.

The main attraction of this hike is the impressive rock formations that permeate the entire trail. Made of monzogranite rock, and formed over 100 million years ago when magma cooled into monzogranite beneath the surface of the earth, these formations are the most well known part of the park!

Over time, water eroded sections of the rock to help form the impressive structures we witness today. Flash floods have since helped isolate these rocky islands, washing away the abutting sand and adding to their natural beauty.

On the Eastern part of the loop you will come to a fork. If you want, take the half-mile extension towards face rock. Otherwise, continue along the loop and return to your car.

Insider Hints

  • Even though this is a short hike, in the intense summer heat it can still be difficult. Always be conscious of the heat and especially the sun exposure. Bring lots of water.