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Panorama Loop And Warren Peak

Panorama Loop and Warren Peak (Joshua Tree)

In This Guide
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions for Panorama Loop & Warren Peak Hike
  • Where to Park for the Panorama Loop
  • Insider Tips & Recommendations for the Hike
Total Distance (?)8 miles (12.9 km)
Other Options 6.8 Without Warren Peak
Hike Time3-4 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Moderate
Total Ascent (?)1,750 feet (533m)
Highest Elevation5,165 feet (1574m)
Fees & PermitsPark Entrance Fee
Dogs AllowedNo
Alerts & Closures (?)Joshua Tree National Park
Park Phone760-367-5500
Weather & ForecastLatest Conditions
Stay SafeCopy this webpage link to the clipobard and share with a friend before you hike. Let them know when to expect you back.
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The Panorama Loop and Warren Peak hike in Joshua Tree NP gets you away from the crowds and into some classic Joshua Tree terrain. You’ll enjoy Joshua Tree groves, foothill climbs, and epic views. You’ll also bag the most western point over 5000 feet in Joshua Tree NP. And Warren Peak is not Warren Peak. More about that in the guide.

Where is the Panorama Loop Trailhead?

The hike starts in the western part of Joshua Tree National Park, away from the main tourist drags in the center. You’re going to want to navigate to:
Black Rock Canyon Campground, 9800 Black Rock Canyon Rd, Yucca Valley, CA 92284

Panorama Loop And Warren Pea Parking
The hiker parking lot is right by the entrance to the campground, on the paved road on the way out. The easiest thing to do is just drive across the sand when you first enter. The trail starts to the right of the parking area.
Panorama Loop And Warren Peak Directions 2
Here’s another view of the parking. The parking lot is shared with the California Riding and Hiking Trail, and can get full. If that’s the case, find another spot within the campground.

There is no entrance gate to Joshua Tree NP here. I just leave my National Parks pass on my dashboard.

Gear For the Hike

This is your classic Joshua Tree trail. In the summer, it’s probably too hot to hike outside of sunrise and sunset. The trail can be very sandy. Bring plenty of water and trekking poles for the steep slopes of Warren Peak.

Garmin Inreach Mini 2

Garmin InReach Mini 2
I’m a firm believer in carrying a satellite communications device which works where cell phones don’t. I use a Garmin InReach which lets me send text messages back and forth to my family to let them know that I’m okay or if my plans change when I’m out in the backcountry. It also has an SOS subscription built-in so that you can reach first-responders in an emergency. The devices also offer weather reports, GPS, and navigation functionality (what’s the difference between a GPS and satellite communicator?). For a few hundred bucks they could save your life, so for me it’s a no brainer to have something like a Garmin InReach. If you use a smartphone to navigate and want a more affordable option that integrates with your phone easily, check out the ZOLEO.

Latest Prices: Amazon | REI

Lone Peak 6 Yellow

Altra Lone Peak 6
For most people, the Altra Lone Peak is a solid choice that will leave your feet feeling great at the end of any hike. The feel is cushy and light, and if it had a car equivalent, this would be a Cadillac or Mercedes Sedan. The grip is great and they’re reasonably durable for this type of trail runner, which I think is better in most conditions than a hiking boot, and here’s why. The downside of this shoe is that it won’t last as long as something like the Moab 2 (see alternate footwear choices at the bottom of my gear page). I’ve been using mine for many miles and my feet always feel great. I have a video on the details of the Altra Lone Peak 6 here.

Women’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon 
Men’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon 

Black Diamond Ergo Poles 2

Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles
I’ve gone back and forth on trekking poles, but I think for most people they are a good investment. They help you dig in on the uphills, provide stability on loose downhills, act as a brace when crossing streams, and can probably poke away aggressive wildlife in a pinch. The Trail Ergo Cork poles are a good balance of light weight, durability, affordability, and ease of use. If you want something ultralight and a little more pricey, I’ve had great luck with the Black Diamond Z Poles too.

Trail Ergo Poles: REI | Amazon 
Z-Poles: REI | Amazon 

Gregory Zulu 30

Gregory Zulu 30 & Jade 28
After testing quite a few backpacks, the Gregory Zulu 30 (and Jade 28 for women) is, for most hikers, the best all-season day-pack. First off, it’s very comfortable, and the mesh “trampoline” back keeps your back dry. Its 30L capacity is enough for all the essentials and plenty of layers for winter hiking. External pockets make it easy to grab gear. It’s hard to find something wrong with the pack; if anything, it could be a bit lighter, but overall, it’s not heavy. And its price-point makes it not only affordable but generally a great value.

Women’s Latest Prices: REIAmazon 
Men’s Latest Prices: REIAmazon 

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated May 2022.

My May 2022 Top Gear Picks

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 keep the website ad and promotion free. There is no cost to you.

Panorama Loop Trail Maps

Click Here To View

Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File

If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.

Gaiagps

How Are You Going to Navigate This Hike?
Here’s what I use. If you are a hardcore hiker and/or hike in extreme conditions, I recommend getting a dedicated GPS like a GPSMAP 66sr or 66i, or a wrist-based GPS with maps like the Garmin Fenix 7 or Epix. If you only hike in fair weather and a touchscreen is fine, or just want a solid tool, I highly recommend downloading the smartphone app, Gaia GPS. It’s a piece of cake to use and very powerful, just make sure your phone is in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.

To access this guide when out of cell phone range on the trail, simply save the webpage on your phone ( iPhoneAndroid ).

Elevation Profile

Panorama Loop And Warren Pea Elevation
There’s a bit of climbing, but it’s nothing too crazy. The first climb to the viewpoint starts gradually and then gets steeper toward the end. After a nice cruise downhill, it’s the same experience for Warren Peak, easy at first and steep at the end, but it’s not as long as the initial climb up Black Rock Canyon.

3D Map

Panorama Loop And Warren Pea 3d Map
From the campground you’ll hike up through Black Rock Canyon. When the loop starts, we’ll go clockwise (for the best views), and then do a spur out and back up to Warren Peak. After that, we’ll continue on the Panorama Loop back to the start.

Panorama Loop & Warren Peak Hike Directions

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Video Directions

Turn by Turn Directions

Panorama Loop And Warren Peak Directions 3
Start at the trail board to the right of the parking area. Don’t worry about the permits, they’re only if you are hiking overnight.
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The start of the trail is sandy and flat.
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Continue on the widest trail around to the right as other smaller use-trails join.
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At the junction for the California Riding & Hiking Trail, keep straight.

If you’re looking for a fun backpacking trip through Joshua Tree NP, the California Riding & Hiking Trail (CRHT) is a thru-hike that you can bag in 2-3 days. I have a full guide here.

Panorama Loop And Warren Peak Directions 7
Here’s the sign from the last junction. Nothing about Warren Peak or the Panorama Loop yet.
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Just past that junction is a sign for Black Rock Canyon. Keep hiking straight up the sandy trail.
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Shortly after that is the junction for the Short Loop Trail. Keep hiking straight.
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Here’s the sign from that junction.
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Keep hiking straight past the Burnt Hill Trail junction.
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And then you see a sign for the Black Rock Canyon trails. Keep hiking straight up the gradual climb toward Panorama Loop.
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There’s some serious Joshua Tree growth here in Black Rock Canyon.
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There are also sections that split and rejoin eventually. They’re usually well marked like this one.
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At about 1.6 miles in, the canyon narrows and becomes lusher. When the canyon narrows you are at Black Rock Spring.
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And as the canyon narrows, there are some incredible rock formations close to the trail.
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At about 1.8 miles in, you’ll reach the loop part of the Panorama Loop Trail. We’re going to go clockwise. When we return, we’ll pop out from the left.
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Here’s the sign from the junction.
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There’s also an old wooden marker at the split. “WP” is Warren Peak.
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Past the junction the trail becomes much narrower. And thankfully the thick sand is gone until we return.
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And at about 2.7 miles in you start the switchbacks. The trail gets steeper.
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Enjoy the views, including to San Gorgonio, as you climb.
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Keep hiking up the switchbacks, which are well-maintained.
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You’ll get nice views into Joshua Tree and the peaks beyond in Mojave National Preserve.
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When you reach the flat area at the top, you’re at the viewpoint.
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Prepare for some jaw-dropping views, including views of Mount San Jacinto.
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And San Gorgonio.
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Continue along the ridge. The views “keep on keeping on.”
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When the trail splits you can go either way. If you climb the rise, you’ll be at unnamed point “5195” (feet).
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Enjoy the long and gradual downhill.
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When you come to the flat area, make the hard right by the “PL” trail sign.
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The Joshua Trees along here are massive.
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And soon Warren Peak comes into view.

Warren Peak is not officially Warren Peak. The Parks Service refers to it as Warren Peak, but it’s listed as a survey marker “with checked spot elevation,” and the word “Warren” is next to it on the official USGS Topographic maps. The elevation benchmark is from 1939. It first appeared on the official map in 1955. But the word “Warren” doesn’t appear on maps until 1972. Some people call it “Warren Point” since it’s not an official peak name.

Panorama Loop And Warren Peak Directions 35
As you descend the trail becomes more like the initial climb up Black Rock Canyon.
Panorama Loop And Warren Peak Directions 36
The turnoff for Warren Peak can be easy to miss. Look for the big tree in the middle of the trail, about 4.4 miles into the hike, and make the hard left.
Panorama Loop And Warren Peak Directions 37
The climb up to Warren Peak starts gradually.
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Stay right at the junction with the Morongo View Trail.
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When you approach the rocky area of the peak, the trail goes right and then climbs up the ridge.
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There’s a small viewpoint to the right, and then the trail continues uphill to the left.
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The last stretch up to the summit is steep.
Panorama Loop And Warren Peak Directions 1
And when you get to this pile of granite, you’ve reached the summit. You’ll continue to have great views of the high peaks you saw earlier.
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And also views into the Little San Bernardino Mountains and Joshua Tree NP.
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And here’s the survey benchmark.

After visiting Warren Peak, head back the way you came.

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You’ll rejoin the Panorama Trail at the big tree.
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And then continue down a short stretch of the loop.
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And then arrive back at the original split. Make the left to hike back to the trailhead.
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And that’s it!

This guide last updated on April 21, 2022. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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