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.
When planning, always check the park website and social media to make sure the trails are open. Similarly, check the weather and road conditions.
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: 33.904815, -116.362112
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.
As a hiking guide, I test lots of hiking gear. On my picks page, I'll show you all of the gear that I actually use. I don't accept paid promotions or talk about the stuff that doesn't make the cut. It's just the gear that works best, so you don't have to waste your money.
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.
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, 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 because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!).