Step into Joshua Tree

A free chapter from 140 Great Hikes in and near Palm Springs
CMC Press
April 27, 2022

Palm Springs sits on Cahullia land in southern California. First named Se-khi or "boiling water" by Indigenous Cahullia, probably for its natural hot springs, the region is nestled in the Sonoran Desert in the Coachella Valley. Palm Springs is a dry, hot, and vibrant desert climate surrounded by protective mountain ranges, which provide an array of trails to explore. 

In the new 25th Anniversary edition of 140 Great Hikes in and near Palm Springs, Philip Ferranti offers his notable wit and expertise in a regional guide through these diverse landscapes. 

Here is a complimentary chapter featuring the iconic Joshua Tree National Park.


Ryan Mountain Trail 

From 140 Great Hikes in and near Palm Springs 
by Philip Ferranti 

The top of Ryan Mountain offers one of the best panoramic views of the scenic features found in and around Joshua Tree National Park. The views include the high summits of San Jacinto Peak and San Gorgonio Peak, Pinto Basin, Lost Horse Valley, the Wonderland of Rocks, and the Little San Bernardino Mountains forming the northern border of the Coachella Valley. The well-maintained trail is considered a moderate hike, but if taken at a slow pace, can be done as an easy hike. 

DIRECTIONS: To begin, drive south 3 miles on Utah Trail Rd. from the Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center at Twentynine Palms. Stay right at the Pinto "Y" junction and drive 8.5 miles until you reach the Ryan Mountain Trailhead parking lot on your left. Do not park at Sheep Pass Campground as this is reserved for campers. 

From the parking lot, take the Ryan Mountain Trail as it heads west and eventually swings up the side of the mountain. This is a very straight-forward hike to the top, but does offer you wonderful views of the surrounding extensive valleys for which Joshua Tree National Park is famous. 


If you want to learn more about Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park, and the Coachella Valley, the 25th Anniversary edition of 140 Great Hikes in and near Palm Springs is now available

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