Black Rock Canyon Campground and Hiking Trails
The Black Rock Canyon area in Joshua Tree National Park has a wide variety of hiking options. You can stick to the well-marked trails, or you can create your own hike by combining a variety of trails. Most of the trails in this area are considered moderate to moderately strenuous. They vary in length from 1.3 miles to 6.6 miles. The trailhead for a 37-mile section of the California Riding and Hiking Trail is also located here.
The Black Rock Canyon Campground has sites that vary in size and can accommodate both tents and RVs. The sites feature a picnic table and fire ring. Restrooms and water are available near the campsites, and there is a dump station for RVs. They even have a separate area for camping with horses and/or staging a ride in the park. You can camp with your dogs, but dogs are not allowed on the hiking trails. For hiking with dogs, you need to stick to the roads.
Panorama Loop Trail Hike
We parked in the picnic area parking lot because the parking was full near the backcountry board. The actual hike begins at the backcountry board and continues down the California Riding and Hiking Trail to the Black Rock Canyon Trail. We hiked down that trail until we hit the first intersection with the Panorama Loop Trail and the Warren Peak Trail.
You can either start the Panorama Loop at this junction, or you can start at the second junction. We chose to start the loop with the second junction. By going counterclockwise, the trail going up has a more gradual increase in elevation and a steeper decline. The steeper decline is not so great when you have bum knees like D, but the gradual increase in elevation is easier to me to deal with due to my asthma.
The trail starts with a good trek through the sandy wash.
Panorama Loop Trail has stunning views of Joshua Tree National Park. We enjoyed the gorgeous blooms of a spring after a winter filled with rain.
During our hike, we enjoyed the cooler spring weather with sunny skies. The light breeze made the heat of the direct sun comfortable.
I wouldn’t want to do this hike in the summer as there isn’t a lot shade. There are a few locations on the trail that offer a little shade and a place to rest, if needed. We went through a lot of water even though it wasn’t hot.
Nature Center and Park Resources
If you’ve never been to this area, you can stop by the nature center and pick up a map and learn more about Joshua Tree National Park. I recommend picking up the latest park newsletter as it contains a wealth of information about the park, activities, nature, and current events. The newsletter is put out quarterly, and it’s available for free for park visitors.
Panorama Loop Trail Facts
- The hike on the Panorama Loop Trail is roughly 6.6 miles round trip from the backcountry board. The distance will vary based on any side trails that you take and where you park.
- The hike is considered a moderate to moderately strenuous hike with a 1,100-foot elevation gain.
- 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 Panorama Loop Trail was our eleventh hike in the 2017 52 Hike Challenge. We’d love to have you follow us on our year-long hiking adventure.