Skull Rock Trail at Joshua Tree National Park

You can turn this rather anti-climatic roadside stop in Joshua Tree National Park to a great hike by taking a loop trail from Jumbo Rocks Campground. Skull Rock is a rock that looks like a human skull with two giant eyes and a mouth. The rock is a short half a mile work from the campground, which makes it a great hike to walk with kids or at the end of the day after you’ve done all the bigger hikes. It’s also a great hike to do if you camp at the Jumbo Rocks Campground.

The skull rock

Where: Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park
Distance: 1.7 miles loop trail
Direction: From the West Entrance Visitor center, just keep on going straight on Park Road for about 30 minutes drive, and you will eventually see a really big sign that says “Jumbo Rocks Campground” pointing to your right. If you want to do the short loop hike, just park on the road here and the trailhead is on your left opposite of the campground. If you have better things to do, you can just keep driving down the road and the Skull Rock will come up on your right after about a mile.
Trail Head GPS Coordinates: 33.992112,-116.068328
Skull Rock Roadside stop Coordinates: 33.997922,-116.059891
Highlights: If you hike, you will see many interesting rock formation. If not, then it’s just the skull rock.
Visited: Late November (great whether, a little cold)
Level: Easy and it’s a roadside stop which makes it really accessible for people of all ages and abilities
Nearby Trails: Check out other Hiking Trails at Joshua Tree National Park

The sign pointing to the campground. Park on the road here and the trail is on the opposite side of the campground.
The sign at the trailhead

If you start hiking from Jumbo Rocks Campground, the trail head will begin on the opposite side of the main road and there’s a small sign there that says Skull Rock Trail. This is a pretty easy and short hike with plenty of opportunities for your own exploring time. On this trail, you will look around and see so many cool rocks to hop on and climb. To make this rather easy and straight forward trail more exciting, I suggest that you take the time explore around, get off the trail, and walk on rocks.

This trail is really what you make of it because it really could be a boring one. At a couple of high points, you will get to see a pretty good view of the valley, the road, and the campground, which makes them great spots to take group photos.

My friends and I were able to make this hike fun for ourselves. It didn’t end up being our favorite but we made the most out of it. We stopped a lot, looked around, and climbed things. About a quarter of the hike, there’s this large kind of flat rock that you can go on top of and get a good view of the valley.

The trail
My friend walking on a rock. I’m pretty proud of this shot.
Cool shot. I think… hahaha

Once you’re done with the first half of the hike, you will walk across the road to see the skull rock, which is now on the same side as the campground. There are also other interesting rock formation in the back, and again, you can go and explore them. To complete the loop, just follow an obvious trail to the right of the skull rock. It will leads you back to the campground and there’s a restroom at the end. You will then walk through the campground to exit and walk across to road back to your car.

Hope that you find this helpful. If you’ve been to skull rock before and find it really interesting, please share with me some tips so I can make my next visit more exciting.


  1. I haven’t been to but I like the idea of visiting this park in one of our trips the next time we’re on that area. Thanks for sharing them, btw, is Snook your name? if so how do we say it? 🙂 sorry for the many Q’s.

    1. Hi Premdev,

      Hahaha don’t worry about the questions. Have you heard of Snooki? It’s a reality TV person from MTV. I’ve never seen the show but people keep telling me about it. Basically, it’s pronounced the same but without the eee sound at the end.

      If you don’t know her, then it’s pronounced like SA-NUK but quick er so the don’t drag out the SAA sound. hahaha

      And Joshua Tree is absolutely amazing. People keep telling me about how amazing it is and I couldn’t believe it until I was there myself! Let me know if you have any questions.

What do you think about this cool place?

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