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49 Palms Oasis Trail Winter Hike

Posted in Family, and Outdoor Adventures

49 Palms Oasis Trail - hanging out at the trailhead. Joshua Tree National Park, CA

While 49 Palms Oasis Trail can be hiked in the summer, it’s more enjoyable during the winter months. D has hiked the trail a couple of times with various groups, but this was our first time hiking the trail as a family. Originally, we had planned on going for a short, easy hike, but at the last minute, we headed to this trail instead as Munchkin wanted something a little different.

49 Palms Oasis Trail, Joshua Tree National Park, CA - Daddy and daughter goofing around and sharing a hug along the trail.

To be absolutely truthful, neither Munchkin nor I really knew what we were in for when we hit the trail. It was a little later in the day, and we were both feeling tired. The trail has a crazy 300-foot uphill climb – both ways. Yep, you read that right – both ways. Remember that story told to us by the older generation about walking to school uphill both ways, well, it turns out that it can really happen depending on your location.

49 Palms Oasis Trail, Joshua Tree National Park, CA - hiking to the oasis

It was cloudy when we started the hike, but it wasn’t raining. The further we moved along the trail, the more we realized that there was a good chance that we were in for some rain on the trail. The wind started to pick up and a chill filled the air.

49 Palms Oasis Trail, Joshua Tree National Park, CA - hiking to the oasis

I was wishing that I had remembered to bring something to wear over my ears as they were aching. Munchkin quickly swapped out her ball cap for a knit cap to cover her ears. Even D started to tuck his hands in his pockets, but we were dedicated to completing our journey to the oasis.

49 Palms Oasis Trail, Joshua Tree National Park, CA - hiking to the oasis

My short little legs were not liking the rocking steps. They were rather tall which lead to some rather sore thighs. Munchkin and D, with their long legs, were normally a good distance ahead of me. Of course, it didn’t help my cause that I enjoy taking pictures along the way. Needless to say, between my short legs and my photography, I fell way behind more than once.49 Palms Oasis Trail, Joshua Tree National Park, CA - checking out the oasis

We were glad to see the palm trees in the distance as it’s easier to keep trekking when you can see your destination even if there is still a good bit of hiking ahead. I found myself getting passed by faster hikers on a regular basis, but I was enjoying the journey.

49 Palms Oasis Trail, Joshua Tree National Park, CA - checking out the oasis

When we arrived at the oasis, the rain started to fall. Nothing major. Just a few sprinkles where we were located. The wind died down, and the clouds settled in over our heads. It didn’t matter. We had made it to our destination. The beautiful oasis in the middle of the barren, rocky desert landscape.

49 Palms Oasis Trail, Joshua Tree National Park, CA - checking out the oasis

We could hear the water below us, but we couldn’t see it. It took some exploration to follow the water that traveled beneath the rocks and boulders to a natural pool down below. We took time for a brief snack before making our way back up the trail.

49 Palms Oasis Trail, Joshua Tree National Park, CA - hikers heading back to trailhead

It’s rather odd to know that your hike back is going to be crazy and uphill when your journey to the oasis was crazy and uphill. It doesn’t normally work that way on these basic hikes.

49 Palms Oasis Trail, Joshua Tree National Park, CA - hikers heading back to trailhead

I now understand why there have been fatalities on this trail when hiked in the summer. There’s no shade, and you need to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated while hiking even in the winter months.

49 Palms Oasis Trail, Joshua Tree National Park, CA - hikers heading back to trailhead

Due to the rain and the time of day, there were a lot of hikers on the trail back to the parking area. Even though there were quite a few hikers, it never felt crowded. It was interesting to see hikers of all ages from little toddlers to senior citizens on the trail. There were groups, families, couples, and individuals all enjoying the beauty of the desert. One guy was on his way back to the oasis as we were on our way out. He was carrying his motorcycle helmet in one hand and a guitar in the other. I could imagine him relaxing under the palm trees and strumming his guitar.

49 Palms Oasis Trail, Joshua Tree National Park, CA - hikers heading back to trailhead

49 Palms Oasis Trail is one of the many day hikes in Joshua Tree National Park.

49 Palms Oasis Trail Facts

  • The hike on the 49 Palms Oasis Trail is between 3 and 3.5 miles round trip from the parking lot. Your distance will vary based upon how much exploring you do when you arrive at the oasis.
  • The elevation change is around 300 feet – both ways.
  • The rocky trail goes up and down. It has rock steps in some areas. You’ll go over a variety of terrains during the hike.
  • The hike is considered a moderately-strenuous hike.
  • The trail is open year around, but hikers need to be aware of the weather conditions for their own safety. It gets very hot in the summer months, and the trail does not have shade until you arrive at the oasis. The trail may be closed if weather conditions are too severe.
  • Dogs are not allowed on the trail.
  • Depending on your pace, the hike will take between 2 and 3 hours round trip.
  • The trail closes at sunset and opens at sunrise.

The 49 Palms Oasis Trail was our second hike in the 2017 52 Hike Challenge. We’d love to have you follow us on our year-long hiking adventure.

43 Comments

    • We have a blast hiking as a family even if the hikes aren’t aways easy. We’re working up to some larger, harder hikes. We take the dogs whenever possible, but a lot of the places around here don’t allow dogs on the trails which is a huge bummer.
      Heather L recently posted..Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail HikeMy Profile

      January 23, 2017
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  1. You’re so funny about hiking! But you DID it, girl! And what gorgeous trails to get some stunning views while navigating the rocks and hills and all of the above!
    karen recently posted..Why Rose Gold is the Ultimate AccessoryMy Profile

    January 30, 2017
    |Reply
    • I love hiking, but my body doesn’t always like me for doing it. Navigating crazy areas really isn’t easy with short legs. lol!
      Heather L recently posted..Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail HikeMy Profile

      January 30, 2017
      |Reply
  2. What a beautiful place! I miss hiking. I used to go when I lived in North Carolina, but since I have been back in Florida there really isn’t much in the way of hiking. Kayaking though has been amazing
    Jessi recently posted..Diaper Bag EssentialsMy Profile

    January 30, 2017
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    • We haven’t done many water activities since moving to the desert. I think it’s great that you’re able to take advantage of the outdoor activity that works for your area.
      Heather L recently posted..Barker Dam Loop Winter HikeMy Profile

      January 30, 2017
      |Reply
  3. Wow, looks like a great place to check out and hike! I don’t get to hike as much as I’d like but if I am ever in the area I will definitely check this out!

    January 30, 2017
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  4. Those palm trees are so cool! The hike looks rocky but awesome! We just moved to Denver and I can’t wait to try some of the trails out here!

    January 30, 2017
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  5. That looks like an amazing place to hike. One where you can really clear your head and just live in and enjoy the moment. Thanks for sharing!

    January 30, 2017
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  6. About a 5k round trip isn’t bad! I would try it with my husband, but don’t think my kids little legs could handle it yet.

    January 30, 2017
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  7. Debra
    Debra

    This looks like a great trip, it looks like a fun place to hike. I love getting out in nature.

    January 30, 2017
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  8. The views are amazingly gorgeous. The hike looks like so much fun and a fun activity to do.

    January 30, 2017
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  9. I’ve heard a lot of great things about Joshua Tree National Park. I didn’t make it there last time I was in the area, but this hike looks wonderful! Would love to put it on my list for next time.

    January 31, 2017
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  10. What a neat place for a winter hike. We live in Tucson, AZ and people often forget that hiking is hard work, even during the winter and they don’t bring enough water.

    January 31, 2017
    |Reply
    • A lot of people don’t realize how much water you need when you’re hiking. Being from Tucson, you know that when you’re in the desert, you can’t just filter water from a stream if you don’t bring enough. Plus, once you feel thirsty, you are already very dehydrated.
      Heather L recently posted..Barker Dam Loop Winter HikeMy Profile

      January 31, 2017
      |Reply
  11. My hubby and I love to hike and want to try so many different places. So thanks for your post on 49 Palms Oasis Trail. The photographs really show a fantastic trail!

    January 31, 2017
    |Reply
  12. This trek sounds hard work but great fun and a brilliant thing to do as a family 🙂

    January 31, 2017
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  13. michelle mink
    michelle mink

    This is drivable for me to get to so I would love to check out this hike in person. Though I think April would probably be the ideal time for me to visit.

    January 31, 2017
    |Reply
  14. Reesa Lewandowski
    Reesa Lewandowski

    What a beautiful place to hike! I would love to get out there and see this area one day!

    January 31, 2017
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  15. We’ve never been but it definitely looks like somewhere we would enjoy. A great adventure to have with the family and friends.

    January 31, 2017
    |Reply
  16. I love hiking but this is a totally different terrain. I’m from NJ. I haven’t done a hike in the dead of winter (aka now). I would love to try it this year though.

    January 31, 2017
    |Reply
  17. I miss hiking so bad. That’s the first thing I want to do come the Summer. I remember its something I used to always do with my mom after my son was born. Now he;s three.

    January 31, 2017
    |Reply
  18. Wow this looks like an astonishingly beautiful piece of nature. Looks like you and your family had a great time there.

    January 31, 2017
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  19. As a military wife who could barely handle her busy schedule I am truly glad I came across your post. I love your great shots! Hiking sounds so fulfilling, exciting and fun!

    February 1, 2017
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  20. The adventure doing hiking is we could see how incredible nature is. Your photos are stunning and they captured your story perfectly.

    February 1, 2017
    |Reply
  21. HilLesha
    HilLesha
    Twitter:

    How nice! Hiking is one of my favorite things to do. It’s a wonderful to relax while being surrounded by nature. I seldom hike in the winter, but I’m looking forward to do more of it when the warm weather arrives.
    HilLesha recently posted..Snacking Under StressMy Profile

    February 1, 2017
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  22. This is really nice and peaceful. I love hiking with my family, it’s a great way to spend some time together. I think it’s a lovely trail and it’s the perfect place to de-stress!

    February 1, 2017
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  23. This looks like a wonderful hike!! The geography here is fascinating … so very different from what we have here in Michigan. I’d love to hike this trail.

    February 2, 2017
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  24. Robin Rue
    Robin Rue

    I would love to go on a hike like this. It looks like it was so beautiful!

    February 2, 2017
    |Reply
  25. Krystle Cook
    Krystle Cook

    When the weather is nice we love to get outdoors and explore. This looks like a great place to do just that.

    February 2, 2017
    |Reply
  26. This looks like a really fun treck! I love to go on hikes in new places with my husband and will keep this in mind if we’re ever in CA!

    February 2, 2017
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  27. Looks like you had a great time! I would love to go walking on a trail.

    February 5, 2017
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  28. I am always looking for a good winter trail to take the family to! This is perfect, exactly what I am looking for! You looked like everyone had a great time! I love spending time outdoors and want to pass that on my kids so I try to get them outdoors on hikes, even in the winter, so that they can see how great it is!
    Katriza recently posted..Learn & Earn with UnitedHealthcare’s Interactive Games & GiveawayMy Profile

    February 5, 2017
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