A local’s favorite, the Tim’s Ladder Trail offers a rugged adventure into the hills of the northern Coachella Valley. Along the way, you’ll encounter a monument built by a local artisan. Then, you’ll enter the Joshua Tree National Park backcountry and finish with a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the Little San Bernardino Mountains. And 2000 feet of climbing in under 3 miles means that you’ll earn the views.
Where is Tim’s Ladder Trail?
There’s no official trailhead for the hike, but parking and starting the hike are easy enough. If you can enter latitude and longitude into your driving GPS, use this trailheads address:
Otherwise, navigate to Sky Valley Resort, and about 0.2 miles west of the turnoff to the resort on Dillon Road, the hike start will be on the north side of the road. Use this street address:
74711 Dillon Rd, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92241
Gear For the Hike
This is a rugged hike in the desert. In the summer and when temperatures are high, doing Tim’s Ladder is not an option and can be deadly. When temperatures are safe, I bring about 2L of water and sun protection. Trekking poles are also a must on some of the steep slopes. Lastly, having a GPS with this trail’s GPX track loaded will be helpful. The trails are unofficial use trails, and are generally easy to follow, but having access to the GPX track will resolve any confusion.
I waste my time with lousy hiking gear so you don’t have to. Only the winners get onto my gear page. There’s no fluff, sponsorships, or promotions. It’s just gear I personally use, have tested, and recommend. Right now I’m liking my inReach Mini 2, Garmin Epix, and Lone Peak 6 shoes.
My August 2022 Top Gear Picks
Tim’s Ladder Trail Maps
Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File
How will you navigate this hike?
I use my Epix to record the hike, GaiaGPS to zoom around a map, and have a backup paper map.
Learn more about navigation tools that I use here.
Landmarks on the Hike
- The land you are hiking on is owned by the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy, a state agency created in 1991 to protect the natural and cultural resources of the Coachella Valley. It would be great if the Friends of the Desert Mountains would mark this trail at some point, it’s a great area.
- The monument you pass on the hike was created by Din Kossova, who lives at Sky Valley, to commemorate the founding of the modern Albanian state in 1920, largely through the efforts of Woodrow Wilson. Originally he built another monument, unknowingly just inside the (then unmarked) boundary of Joshua Tree National Park. When the park found it, they (pretty harshly) fined Kossova and blew up the monument. The video about it on the Desert Sun site is worth watching if you’re interested.
- You’ll cross into Joshua Tree National Park, but you don’t need any special entrance fees or permits to day hike here.
- When you cross into the park, you’ll also cross over the Colorado River Aqueduct, one of the modern engineering marvels. You won’t see it on the hike, as its underground, but there is an access point about a mile away that you can visit.
Tim’s Ladder Hike Directions
Turn by Turn Directions
From here, head back the way you came. When you approach the monument, pick up the directions below to descend on the loop route.
Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.
This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard
Hi, I’m Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, National Recreation Trails (NRT) Ambassador, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different in that it gives very detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I share the hiking tricks and tips that I’ve learned over the years to fast-track you into a hiking pro. And I tell you what hiking gear works and what gear doesn’t so you don’t waste your money.
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