Hike Willow Hole (Joshua Tree)
|In This Guide|
|Distance||7 miles (11.3 km)|
|Hike Time||3-4 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||320 feet (98m)|
|Highest Elevation||4,150 feet (1265m)|
|Fees & Permits||Park Entry Fee|
|Park Website (?)||Joshua Tree National Park|
|Stay In Touch||Newsletter - Instagram - YouTube - Facebook|
The hike to Willow Hole in Joshua Tree takes you through quintessential desert scenery to a hidden willow grove that has its own microclimate. Willow Hole, a seasonal water source protected by a thicket of Willow trees, is nestled in a small canyon in the Wonderland of Rocks. The hike starts tame, making its way through some popular climbing areas, then it begins to feel like a real adventure, snaking through washes and canyons until you reach Willow Hole. And although the hike is 7 miles, it’s relatively flat and doable by most hikers.
Getting to the Willow Hole Trail
The hike to Willow Hole starts at the popular Boy Scout Trail parking lot, close to Joshua Tree’s west entrance on Park Blvd. Use this trailhead address:
Boy Scout Trail, 64568 Park Blvd, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
Gear for the Hike
This is a moderately long (7 mile) desert hike, so I recommend having proper hiking gear if you have it available. Hiking boots with a cuff will keep the sand and debris out of your feet. There is no shade, so 2L of water and some sun protection make the most sense. And like most of Joshua Tree National Park, there is no/low phone reception, so having a satellite communicator is a safe bet.
I try a lot of hiking boots and shoes, and there are some great options out there, but the La Sportiva Spire is the best combination of comfort, protection, low-weight, and durability. They are waterproof, and the high cuff keeps debris out without the need for a gaiter. Time tested over thousands of miles. Use them with a two-layer sock system to end blisters for good.
Reviews & Lowest Prices: Women – Men
On a medium or longer hike I recommend a pack like the Osprey Talon 33 (men) or Osprey Sirrus 36 (women) which is a little bit larger. These packs are on the upper end of the (35L) daypack range, but they only weigh a small fraction more than a pack with less capacity. Having the extra space gives you more flexibility and means you don’t have to jam things in there. I use the space for things like extra layers in the winter, extra water on desert hikes, and even a tent & sleeping bag on overnights.
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.
Willow Hole Trail Maps
Overall the hike is well-marked and relatively easy to follow. You do go through a popular rock climbing area, and you will see many small use trails off the main trail leading to climbing spots. Most of these side trails have markers but some don’t. Stay on the larger, well-worn trail if you see a small use trail to the side.
Hike Willow Hole (Joshua Tree) Map Downloads
Download the Hike GPX File
View a Printable PDF Hike Map
|Start Willow Hole Trail||1.3||4130|
|Start of Wonderland of Rocks||2.3||4130|
|Start of Willow Grove||3.4||4050|
Willow Hole Hike Directions
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Turn by Turn Directions
The water at Willow Hole attracts lots of wildlife. Keep your eyes open for bighorn sheep and birds.
And that’s the hike! From here, just return the way you came.
Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.