Hole-in-the-Wall to Mid Hills Trail
ElevationAscent: 547' 167 m
Descent: -1,815' -553 m
High: 5,672' 1,729 m
Low: 4,160' 1,268 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 21% (12°)
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“One of the few longer mostly-singletrack trails in the area.”— Matt Freeman
From the north, it seems like there's an excessive amount of carsonite markers defining the trail at first. Further along, the markers are necessary as the trail becomes difficult to follow in areas (so much for staying on trail as requested by the NPS). After a viewpoint, the descent begins. You'll spend your time divided between watching your foot placement and figuring where the trail continues (I had to stop several times, and sometimes readjusted my alignment).
At 1.8 miles, you'll pass through a steel frame gate, similar in construction to the one at the North Trailhead, and several more to come. A few hundred feet past the gate is the the first junction. Right takes you back to the North Trailhead while staying left continues down the wash. The trail is poorly marked here, but eventually the it climbs out of the wash to the right. Look for rock cairns or the carsonite markers.
Here there's a bit of a climb towards a saddle though an area that wasn't spared by the fire. Finally, at the top, is a great view of the rock formed canyon below. The trail meets an abandoned ATV track and the Barber Peak Loop Trail. On the other side, a use-trail heads right back into the wash, but you're better to stick with the track for a bit until it crosses the wash near some rock outcroppings.
This last segment of the trail was spared from the fire, so there is interesting desert vegetation, sagebrush, cactus, etc. I also saw several jackrabbits along the trail. The tail also gets a bit complex with several rocks to hop over and much debris to make for a mindful run. After navigating the rocks, perhaps you'll find a few calves on the trail to herd down the good singletrack to the next trail junction. The trail straight ahead goes to the road while you want to continue left.
The next trail intersection, go left for the shortest way to the Hole-in-the-Wall Information Center. This is the loop trail that begins at the Information Center. Get ready to stop running and enjoy a bit of upper body work where this trail overlaps the Rings Loop Trail. The path ahead zigzags through a narrow slot canyon with cool rock formations. Here you'll begin climbing with the aid of metal rings anchored to the rock; quickly you'll pop out of the canyon and find yourself at a parking area. There are great information signs that give you directions for the last 0.2 miles down the gravel road back to the Information Center for your shuttle or 9-mile return run.
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Land Manager: NPS - Mojave National Preserve