From Keys View I stayed on the western side of the park and hiked the short 1 mile Barker Dam Nature Trail loop.
Overall this hike is quite flat & easy. Much of the area is covered in sand or bare stone with minimal rock hopping.
Although if rocks are your thing, this is a great spot for some climbing. Part of this area north of the lake is named Wonderland of Rocks and for good reason.
From the trail head hiking counter-clockwise you quickly reach the ephemeral lake at the dam. This is a great place to practice your photography – depending on time of day & lighting, results could be wildly unique.
The dam itself isn’t much to look at but the history is interesting. It was built by the Barker & Shay Cattle Company for watering cattle. Given how harsh this landscape can be, it’s mind-boggling that anyone thought a cattle ranch seemed like a good idea.
Heading away from the dam, shadows off the hills & mountains started to creep in. The odd playful beam of light poked through for some cool effects.
A bit further through the canyon floor and coming up on the next mountain fingers. The shade is a not so subtle reminder my day is coming to and end fast.
Another one of them fandagled joshua trees. This one must be famous, it has it’s own plaque!
About 3/4 of the way the trail forks onto the Echo T Trail connecting to another area. I hopped on this briefly.
Not far from the fork is a plaque detailing petroglyphs marked long ago by Native Americans.
Unfortunately most of these have been vandalized and covered with paint. Not destroyed, just not pristine. Leave No Trace people, let the next person enjoy it!
I always feel like a time traveler trying to put myself into the artist’s shoes. What were they trying to show here? Fascinating.
From here the loop connects back to the main trail and you are back in the parking area. Onto the next one!
Super easy hike that nearly anyone can do. This one is quick & easy enough everyone visiting Joshua Tree should give it a go.Lat = 34.0308762 , Long = -116.1463394 -- Show at Google Maps