Hike Pine City Trail Joshua Tree

Hike the Pine City Trail (Joshua Tree)

In This Guide
  • Video and Turn by Turn Directions for the Pine City Hike
  • Parking for the Trail to Pine City
  • Everything Yo Need To Know Before the Hike
Distance4.2 miles (6.8 km)
Hike Time1:30-2:30 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Easy
Total Ascent (?)280 feet (85m)
Highest Elevation4,810 feet (1466m)
Fees & PermitsPark Entry Fee
Dog FriendlyNo
Park Website (?)Joshua Tree National Park
Park Phone760-367-5500
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If you want to dip your toe into desert hiking at Joshua Tree, the hike on the Pine City Trail is a great place to get started. The Pine City Trail is straight and easy to follow, with no climbs. But you hike through some beautiful pinyon pine and Joshua Tree vegetation until you reach Pine City, not much of a city anymore. In fact, the only thing left are two hidden mine shafts. But you do get beautiful sweeping views into Pine City Canyon and onward toward Twentynine Palms in the distance. It’s a great hike for everyone, including families.

Where is the Pine City Trail?

The Pine City Trail shares the same (small) parking lot with the hike to Desert Queen Mine. It’s a few minutes off the main Park Blvd on a dirt road. The dirt road is drivable by regular (low-clearance) cars. Use this trailhead address:
Pine City Trail, Desert Queen Mine Rd, Twentynine Palms, CA, 92277

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There’s a small parking lot by the trailhead.
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There is a primitive toilet but no water.

Gear for the Hike

The Pine City hike isn’t a rigorous or technical one, and you are best served with light hiking gear. Hiking boots with cuffs will help keep the sand and rocks off of your feet. Bring at least 1L of water and prepare for desert conditions. There is no cover or shade. You can also do the hike in fitness clothes and in a pinch, casual gear.

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La Sportiva Spire

The La Sportiva Spire boots feel like comfortable sneakers but offer the protection of hiking boots. They’re great on everything from short hikes to longer hikes of 10+ miles. You don’t want to skimp on your feet.
Reviews & Lowest Prices: WomenMen

Opsrey Stratos Blue

I test a lot of gear, and for short to medium day hikes, travel, and everyday use, the Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women) are consistently the best. They’re lightweight, hold a hydration bladder to make drinking water easy, have lots of pockets to organize gear, and most importantly, are incredibly comfortable. Check out the reviews; they are impressive.
Reviews & Colors Here: Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women) 

Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Mini fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing. Read my review and see the lowest prices and reviews at REI (or Amazon).

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated March 2020.See All of My Best Gear Picks Here

No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.

Pine City Trail Maps

Click To View Map

Hike the Pine City Trail (Joshua Tree) Map Downloads

Download the Hike GPX File

View a Printable PDF Hike Map

Fenix 6 Pro

I’m a big fan of GPS watches to follow my GPX track (which I also use as a sleep, wellness, and fitness tracker) and my current watch is the Fenix 6 Pro Solar (full review here). I load my GPX tracks onto the watch to make sure I’m in the right place, and if not, the onboard topo maps allow me to navigate on the fly. It’s pricey but it has a great battery, accurate GPS, and tons of functionality. If you want something similar without the maps and big price tag, check out the Garmin Instinct which is a great buy (prices on REI and Amazon) and does a lot of the same things.

Pine City Hike 3d Map
The hike is a straight shot across the Joshua Tree desert terrain, ending at an overlook by Pine City Canyon.

Pine City Trail Hike Directions

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Video Directions

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Turn by Turn Directions

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Head to the trail on the left of the toilet from the parking lot. There’s a trail board at the start.
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The start also has a trail sign for Pine City Trail with an incorrect distance on it.
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Continue past the trail board.
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The trail, an old road to the mine, is wide, straight, and easy to follow.
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The trail turns into hard-packed sand and continues straight. Queen mountain lies in front of you.
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Look off to your left for views of the big mountains – San Jacinto and San Gorgonio – two of the highest points in Southern California.
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Soon the vegetation gets lush as you approach a rocky area. The area here is considered a pinyon pine microclimate. This cactus is a Mojave Yucca.
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When you get to the boulder field, follow the trail around to the left of them. There used to be a side trail to the right into the rocks, but it’s been blocked off by the parks service.
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Continue around the left side of the granite boulders.
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The trail starts to slope up as you continue straight.
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When you get to the boulder field on your left, you’ve reached the Pine City area. There are small trails off to the left, but you should keep going straight on the main trail. There are two mine shafts hidden around the area; be careful if you’re exploring.
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When you get to this sign saying “Trail not maintained beyond this point,” hike up to the left.
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Climb up the ridge.
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And your reward is a panoramic view up Pine City Canyon with the North Entrance in the distance.

From here, just turn around and go back the way you came.

Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.