“A longer loop for runners seeking solitude and some of Joshua Tree's more scenic geologic features.”
— Mikhaila Redovian
This route is a bit long, and bit rugged, but for runners seeking adventure and dedicated geologists wanting to admire Joshua Tree's famous and somewhat strange geology. The trail itself is a bit difficult to locate, as there isn't much of a trailhead at the start. There is a small parking area off Park Boulevard with room for 3 or 4 cars, and your journey will leave from there.
Like many desert trails, this one is less a true trail and more of a wash route. This means that a lot of the going is sandy, and can be a bit more strenuous than it might seem. Because this is a loop, you can choose to go either clockwise or counterclockwise, but for the purpose of this description, head clockwise. As you depart from the trailhead, you'll notice that you're climbing steadily for the first 1.5 miles. You'll be making your way toward a visible but manageable range of hills. Enjoy winding your way through boulders and interesting rock formations in this section!
As you carry on, you'll make your way out into more of a classic desert, complete with small cacti and sandy trail. Luckily by this point, you'll be on the way down, which makes the sandy trail easier to navigate. Aside from a few smallish sections of climbing, you'll enjoy a gentle descent as you complete the loop.
Once you turn from the far end of the route and start heading back to the trailhead, you'll continue your desert trek. There will be options to extend your route, leading to other interesting formations. Notably, the Window Loop Trail
is a great extension. However, feel free to continue on this route, making your way gently back to the trailhead.