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green Barker Dam Nature Trail


1.2 mile 1.9 kilometer point to point
99% Runnable


Ascent: 52' 16 m
Descent: -45' -14 m
High: 4,288' 1,307 m
Low: 4,255' 1,297 m


Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 5% (3°)


No Dogs
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Map Key

A trail to an interesting tank created in ~1900 to water live stock; Petroglyphs are an added bonus!

Bill Rizzo

Features Cave · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Be aware that this area can see heavy traffic and congested parking during peak season. There is a shuttle stop for the park that you can use to help reduce traffic to the area.

Need to Know

Be sure to bring water be safe; on the trail there's a combo of little shade and hot sun. There are restrooms but no snack or drink offerings.


Today, the Barker Dam holds rainwater and runoff for the local wild animals, though the dam was originally constructed in 1900 for the use of cattle and mining purposes. Some petroglyphs can be found inside a small carved out rock that visitors pass on the return, though somebody has gone over them with new ink. Bummer.

The trail is an easy run, though closed toed shoes are recommended due to cactus. From the parking lot, follow the rope fencing to get to the trailhead. The trail is clearly marked and the normal direction of travel is counterclockwise. At the top of the trail (north end) is the reservoir, and you'll be on the eastern end of it. As you move west you get closer to the actual dam and you'll be able to see the multiple building iterations more clearly if you pass it and turn back and face east. Shortly after passing the dam, you'll overlook an old cattle trough.

After passing the dam and the cattle trough, you'll start your return leg (south) and pass a Joshua Tree (with a sign). Continuing on, you'll come to a sign directing your either back to the trail split point or further on (about 20 meters) to a portion of rock with some petroglyphs. It is worth the 20 meters, but they have been re-drawn, which makes them easier to see. While informative, the "new" petroglyphs lose some of their magic.

Returning to the trail, you'll head down a small set of steps and end back up on the original trail approximately 300 meters from the car park.

This trail shares a parking lot with the Wall Street Mill Trail. Barker Dam Nature Trail is on the west side of the lot and the Wall Street Mill Trail is on the eastern side.

Flora & Fauna

The park map states "Birds abound", though we saw only a few. We did see two rabbits, and as expected, we saw both cactus and Joshua Trees.


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Oct 28, 2018
Brendan Mcquilkin

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 35 votes


  4.2 from 35 votes
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