Black Rock Canyon Campground and Hiking Trails
The Black Rock Canyon area in Joshua Tree National Park has a wide variety of hiking and camping options. You can stick to the set trails, or you can easily create your own unique hike by combining trails. Most of the trails in this area are considered moderate to moderately strenuous. They vary in length from 1.3 miles to 6.3 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.
Warren Peak Trail Hike
The Warren Peak Trail hike is considered a moderately strenuous 6.3 mile hike with a 1,000 foot elevation gain. It features stunning panoramic views of the western part of Joshua Tree National Park.
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. We split off to the right to head up the Warren Peak Trail.
A good portion of the trail is uphill through a sandy wash. Several trail runners were running this portion of the trail.
Our hike took place on a rather windy but sunny day. There isn’t much shade on the trail, so we were thankful for a breeze on the lower portion of the trail.
The trail is pretty mellow even though it’s a constant uphill hike in the wash until you get to the split in the trail to head up to Warren Peak.
From this point on the trail, the peak doesn’t look like it’s that big of a deal, but as you approach the base of the mountain, you find that the elevation change is fairly rapid. It’s a rocky ascent with some loose pebbles and sand.
The views are amazing, and we made several stops as my asthma was not liking the climb. Consistently drinking water is a must as it’s very easy to get dehydrated on this trail. Since the footing is a little sketchy, you do need to be aware of foot placement.
While the hike up wasn’t easy for me, it was definitely worth it. Of course, it was super windy at the peak. It was hard to even stand up with the strong gusts of wind whipping over the peak. The trip down also required careful footing, but once we got down to the sandy trail, it was a quick return trip. For this particular hike, we chose not to add any additional trails to the hike. I just didn’t think my asthma would allow much more. We would tackle the Panorama Loop another day.
Nature Center and Park Resources
Before you head out on the trail(s), make sure you 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.
Warren Peak Trail Hike Facts
- The hike on the Warren Peak Trail is roughly 6.3 miles round trip from the backcountry board. There is a gain of 1,000 feet on this hike.
- The hike is considered a moderate to strenuous 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 Warren Peak Trail was our tenth hike in the 2017 52 Hike Challenge. We’d love to have you follow us on our year-long hiking adventure.