Sometimes, failing to thoroughly research a nature trail before heading out for a hike means you end up on a more difficult hike that originally planned. For us, it wasn’t a bad thing as we were properly prepared for whatever the trail held for us that day, but it did mean that the Hi-View Nature Trail hike took a little longer than planned.
The Hi-View Nature Trail isn’t what I normally consider a nature trail as it’s not an easy stroll through the park observing nature. Most of the nature trails that I’ve been on are geared towards hikers of all ages and abilities. They tend to be flat or have a little elevation. They have very few, if any, obstacles on the trail. They’re usually stroller-friendly. That is not Hi-View Nature Trail.
The hike starts near the parking lot just past the horse camping and staging area. It’s the same parking lot used for the West View Loop Trail. If you start at the trailhead parking lot, the hike is roughly 1.5 miles round trip. There are several side trails available to add to the length of the hike, if desired.
There are two different approaches to hiking the Hi-View Nature Trail. The way the trail is designed with the numbered markers will take you up several stretches of steep terrain including some beautiful rock staircases. The backside of the loop is more gradual which allows for a slower elevation gain. We approached the trail from the front side of the trail.
The Hi-View Nature Trail features benches at a variety of places on the trail. The guest sign-in is towards the top of the trail which I found rather unique. When you reach the sign-in, there is a very short off-shoot that takes you to a beautiful scenic overlook. I relaxed on the rocks for a few minutes and took in the view before we continued the hike.
You definitely need to take plenty of water with you and make sure you have sun protection as there is very little shade on this trail. The total elevation change is a little over 400 feet, but most of it happens in a short span of the trail. The entire trail features stunning views of the park. There are interesting rock formation along the way. The on above caught our attention and another hiker offered to snap a picture of D and me together which doesn’t happen that often.
Nature Center and Park Resources
The nature center has maps and guides for learning more about Joshua Tree National Park. The park newsletter, which is published quarterly, is a free park resource that provides a wealth of information about the park, activities, nature, and current events.
Hi-View Nature Trail Facts
- The hike on the Hi-View Nature Trail is roughly 1.5 miles round trip from the parking lot. The distance will vary based on any side trails that you take and where you park.
- The hike is considered a moderate hike.
- It is not handicap-friendly or stroller-friendly.
- The trail is open year around, but hikers need to be aware of the weather conditions for their own safety. There can be snow in the winter, and the summer heat is extreme. Make sure you have plenty of water.
- Dogs are not allowed on the trail.
The Hi-View Loop Trail was our sixth hike in the 2017 52 Hike Challenge. We’d love to have you follow us on our year-long hiking adventure.