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Rings Loop Trail

Intermediate
  4.3 ( 4 ) Favorite

Trail

1.1 mile 1.8 kilometer point to point
95% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 102' 31 m
Descent: -132' -40 m
High: 4,254' 1,297 m
Low: 4,122' 1,257 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 17% (9°)

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Trail shared by Ryan Dunn

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A short-but-sweet run exploring the "Hole-in-the-Wall" area of the Mojave National Preserve.

Ryan Dunn

Features Birding · Cave · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

This run involves a steep, rocky descent on metal loop ladders. Some may find this section difficult to traverse.

Overview

This is a short but sweet run that loops around the Hole-in-the-Wall geological formation in the Mojave National Preserve. It features a steep descent assisted by metal rings (hence the trail name), beautiful rock formations, and a native petroglyph site.

Need to Know

- While this run is short and generally mellow, the climb down on the rings may be difficult for some. This section can be skipped by simply running the loop clockwise from the visitor center and turning around at the metal rings, creating roughly two mile out-and-back instead.

- The Mojave National Preserve is in a remote part of the Mojave desert. All visitors to the area should pack plenty of water. As always in the wilderness, pack the Ten Essentials when hiking here.

Description

The trail starts at a parking lot just past the Hole-in-the-Wall Visitor Center. Several trails branch off from this lot, so look for the signs marking the Ring Loop trailhead. The trail quickly disappears into rocky and narrow Banshee Canyon. Scramble down the rocks into the canyon where metal-ring ladders are installed at the steepest sections to assist with the climb down. Continue following the trail down and out of the canyon, admiring the rock formations along the way.

After a short while, runners will exit the canyon and arrive at the junction with the Barber Peak Loop Trail. Keep left to stay on the Rings Loop. From here the trail stays relatively level as it circles around the Hole-in-the-Wall formations giving runners great views of the surrounding desert landscape. As the trail swings north, look for boulders to the left featuring petroglyphs left by native peoples long ago.

From here the trail follows a sandy, desert wash until it arrives back at the visitor center. Follow the road a short distance back to the parking lot to complete the loop.

Flora & Fauna

Cactus gardens, yucca, and other desert plants dot the landscape. Many species of birds and reptiles are common. Sometimes a runner might spot a fox, bighorn sheep, or other mammals.

History & Background

The rock formations here were created by ancient volcanic activity. Check out the nearby visitor center to learn about the geology and other information on the Mojave.

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Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 4 votes

#2616

Overall
  4.3 from 4 votes
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Featured Run Rankings

#414

in California

#2,616

Overall
49 Views Last Month
639 Since Dec 27, 2017
Intermediate

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Photos

Metal Rings to assist with climbing down/up Banshee Canyon on the Rings Loop Trail.
Dec 27, 2017 near Needles, CA
The towering walls of the canyon are quite fascinating.
Dec 7, 2018 near Needles, CA
Emerging from the winding canyon into a more open space.
Dec 7, 2018 near Needles, CA
A little arch above the canyon.
Dec 7, 2018 near Needles, CA
Looking back up Banshee Canyon on the Rings Loop Trail.
Dec 27, 2017 near Needles, CA
Looking over Banshee Canyon.
Dec 7, 2018 near Needles, CA

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