“A trail providing nice views of the surrounding area before descending to an oasis of palm trees.”
— David Hitchcock
Forty-nine Palms is closed in the evenings to allow wildlife to access to the water and shade of the Oasis. The road is gated and locked in the evenings, so make sure you have exited by sundown. Pets are prohibited on the trail.
A moderate out-and-back run that leads to a shaded oasis.
Features: Views — Wildflowers
Dogs: No Dogs
The trail climbs 300 feet via a series of steps and is fairly clear of obstacles for the first half. The second half of the trail descends 300 feet and is more rocky than the first part. People who are used to running in the desert may find this trail a nice challenge.
The 49 Palms Trail is located off Canyon Road, 5 miles west of the Oasis Visitor Center. Take the road, which eventually become 49 Palms Canyon Road, a gravel road that goes through a gate (closed at night) and arrives at a parking area. The trail climbs 300 feet in each direction and is completely exposed until you arrive at the 49 Palms Oasis. Make sure that you have plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun and heat.
Leaving from the parking area, the trail immediately begins climbing up the mountain. While sometimes the trail is composed of packed sand and gravel, there are a series of stairs that help climb areas of the mountain. There are large rock formations on either side of the trail at the bottom of the trail that provide opportunities for exploring. In the spring, wildflowers and blooming cactus line the trail. There are plenty of opportunities to stop and see how the desert plants have adapted to the exposed and harsh conditions. As the trail climbs up the mountain, views of the surrounding area, most of which lies beyond the National Park, spread out before you. The trail cuts back on itself before climbing to its highest point at roughly .8 miles. Off in the distance, the first views of the palm trees at the Oasis come into view at the base of the mountain, which is the trail's terminus.
The trail begins to descend at a gentle pace before descending more steeply. You can see the trail stretch out before you as the palm trees peek out from behind a small hill. It is completely exposed as the trail gets rockier as it descends through Forty-nine Palms Canyon. The trail flattens out before it finally arrives at the first set of palm trees, and welcome shade from the sun overhead. You can explore a little bit beyond the palm trees, and there are plenty of opportunities for photos. The National Park Service asks that you not explore underneath the second set of palm trees as it is fragile habitat that provides pools of water, shade, and possibly food for the various wildlife in the park. The shade of the palm trees provides you a great opportunity to drink some water and grab a snack.
Since no trails intersect with this one, the only option at the end of the trail is to return to you car by working your way back along the trail. The same amount of elevation gain is required on the way out, so make sure you have enough water and energy to make the return journey.
Flora & Fauna
In the spring, lots of cactus and wildflowers line the trail as it leads toward the palm oasis at the end of the trail.