California Riding & Hiking Trail in Joshua Tree

The California Riding & Hiking Trail (CRHT) is one of Joshua Tree National Park‘s premiere backcountry trail. This 35 miles well maintained trial runs from the west side of the park to the east side.

Joshua Tree California Hiking & Riding Trail


rules and regulations

  • backcountry is free in Joshua Tree
  • registration at one of the backcountry board is required. Vehicles must be parked at designated backcountry lots and self manifest form must be completed
  • camp anywhere 1 mile away from an establishment such as road, parking lot, campground, and main attractions (basically, stay away from people)
  • no fire… anywhere ever!

basic info

  • 35 miles
  • mostly easy to moderate in difficulty
  • trail is well maintained and path is clearly marked
  • would take 2-5days to complete depend on your speed
  • no water available unless detour to campgrounds

personal experience

My friend and I did a two days one night on the CRHT. We were able to cover about 17 miles. Ideally, you would want to start at one location and finish at another exit. That’d require two vehicles. We did an out and back from Juniper Flat to Geology Road Tour. We hiked about 2 miles pass the geology road tour intersection and camped at an awesome rock formation!

This section of the CRHT is incredibly easy and we hiked 8 miles in within 4 hours with stops, breaks, and side exploring stops.

We found our campsite around 4pm. Wow, it was WINDY! our tent almost flew away. We put all of our stuffs inside the tent and held it down with a bunch of rocks, which were easy to find.

There were no one else in the area. It was quite funny because it’s over the weekend and we were probably a few miles away from the packed Jumbo Rock campground. I will never paid for camping at JT again. Backcountry is free, much more solitude, and more beautiful.

The rocks in the area were amazing, and we spent a good couple of hours just climbing on different rocks and taking in the view. There were some flowers here and there. Also, there were a lot of desert rabbits. They were huge!

I highly recommend this trail for both beginner and experience backpackers. Beginners will find this easy to enough. The trail is beautiful, although, a little flat and doesn’t really offer you a whole lot of good view, but that’s what exploring and rock climbing really come into play. To make the most of this trail, give yourself sometimes to stop and climb up some rocks. It will make the experience much more fun than if you’re just to hike the trail.

Observing the view after climbing on a little hill
Observing the view after climbing on a little hill
When being 5'5 and only 120 pounds have its benefits
When being 5’5 and only 120 pounds have its benefits
a nice panorama of the area
a nice panorama of the area
My friend looking all epic
My friend looking all epic
Awesome rocks!
Awesome rocks!
Another great view
Another great view
kickass campsite!
kickass campsite!
Me at sunset. One of the best i've ever seen!
Me at sunset. One of the best i’ve ever seen!



  1. AWESOME!!! I did this a few weekends ago as a last resort because the campgrounds were all booked up. Who knew it would be so much fun?! Great photos… I’m glad you survived the man-eating rock πŸ™‚

What do you think about this cool place?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: