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Joshua Tree National Park – Petroglyph Barker Dam Loop Hike

Posted in Family, and Outdoor Adventures

When family comes to visit, we have to take them to Joshua Tree National Park to do a little exploring and hiking. We decided to make the first hike with J an easy one by heading over to Barker Dam. The Petroglyph Barker Dam Loop Hike is always enjoyable whether it’s winter hike or summer hike. It also gave us the opportunity to show her a couple of our climbing areas while hiking.

Kids playing at Barker Dam

Even though it was windy, it was a perfect day for a hike. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who felt that way as there were families with kids scrambling all over the rocks along the trail. It’s always a good thing to see families and people of all ages enjoying our National Parks. It’s good to have kids learn the value of spending time in nature away from electronics and understanding the importance of preserving nature.

Family Picture at Barker Dam Loop

Sometimes our family forgets what it’s like to see the Joshua Tree National Park for the first time. It’s good to go with someone who has never been there to remember what it’s like to take it all in when you’ve never seen it before. We don’t take for granted the beauty around us, but it becomes part of our playground over time. Unlike the last time D and I were here, we took our time soaking it all in once again.

The girls together at Barker Dam Loop

The trail had significantly dried up since our last visit which made maneuvering the trail a little easier. The water at the dam area had receded a little, but not too much. We had more cloud cover and winds this time which meant the pictures at the dam weren’t as brilliant. I was having more fun watching the kids scramble everywhere than taking pictures this time around. I remember when our Munchkin was little and loved to explore everywhere, so it was bringing back some fond, bittersweet memories.

Explaining the whole bouldering and climbing thing to his sister - Barker Dam Loop

On the backside of the Petroglyph Barker Dam Loop, we stopped by and checked out the petroglyph cave which is always fun to see. Of course, D had to make a little side trip to show off a couple of our climbing areas to his sister. I was surprised that there weren’t many climbers out yet as the area is usually packed on a beautiful day, but it was nice to be able to show her the area without getting in the way of active climbers.

It was a nice mellow hike to start the day.

Barker Dam Nature Trail Map

The beautiful weather means a lot more people are on the trails. It was fun to see so many families, groups, and individuals enjoying the trails. The park rangers and guides were available to help people get where they wanted to go, and they were giving out some great information about the area. They were telling people about the guided trail hikes that are available during certain times of the year.

Petroglyph Cave | Barker Dam Loop Trail | Joshua Tree National Park | Hike California | Marine Corps Nomads

Petroglyph Barker Dam Loop Trail Facts

  • The hike on the Petroglyph Barker Dam Trail is roughly a 1.5-mile loop. There are other connecting trails for those who want a longer hike.
  • The elevation change is around 50 feet.
  • The trail fairly flat until you get to the water tank where you’ll need to do some easy scrambling on the boulders.
  • The hike is considered an easy hike, but it is not stroller-friendly due to the terrain.
  • The trail is open year around, but hikers need to be aware of the weather conditions for their own safety. Make sure you have plenty of water. The boulders do provide some shade along the trail. If it’s been raining, the trail can experience flooding.
  • Dogs are not allowed on the trail.
  • There are restrooms located at the trailheads by the parking lot.

The Petroglyph Barker Dam Loop Trail Hike was our seventh hike in the 2017 52 Hike Challenge. We’d love to have you follow us on our year-long hiking adventure.

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