Monday, December 12, 2011

Barker Dam Loop Trail, Joshua Tree National Park

Barker Dam, Joshua Tree National Park
Mileage: 1.5 mile loop 
Difficulty: Very Easy level walk (with only about 100 ft elevation gain), however, for those who wanted to add challenge can scramble up in this rocky wonderland trail.
Trailhead: Park Blvd (12 miles west of the intersection with Pinto Basin Road), Joshua Tree National Park, CA ( less than 2 hours drive from Los Angeles or San Diego, a few minutes away from Palm Springs )
Me and Joshua Tree
The Barker Dam Loop Hike is a fun and easy hike for all members of family. There are two trails that cross at the trail head, be sure to follow the signs that lead to Barker Dam. In the first part of the trail, you will be passing Joshua Trees, which are the largest of the yucca family and grows primarily in the Mojave Desert. 
 Joshua Tree 
Joshua Tree and all other yuccas are members of the lily family. Notice in the picture above how the limbs of the yucca bend down already from its weight. Joshua Tree National Park is world famous for rock climbers though it started before as winter ground for Yosemite rock climbers. It is not a surprise to see rock climbers dotting the surface of the rocks as you walk on the trail to Barker Dam, or anywhere in the Park. 
 Rock Climber at Joshua Tree
Want To Rock Climb?
 We are not technical rock climbers, however, whenever there is an opportunity to scramble on rocks and boulders, we love doing so. There are many opportunities for rock scrambling and bouldering in this park. The Barker Dam Loop Trail is in interpretative trail, and if you pay attention to the signs, you will not miss the petroglyphs that have been left behind by past civilization, but have been vandalized or painted over :(
 Petroglyphs Painter Over :( 
 After a short while of walking in the midst of wall of rocks and Joshua Trees, the calm blue dam (or much more like a pond) is very welcome sight.
Barker Dam
This dam is a naturally enclosed area of steep rock formations and boulders that form a bowl at the center, thus the early settlers of the park built a 20-ft long 10-ft high cinder block wall to fully enclose the area keeping the water in for horses and cattle to eat and drink.
This is a popular spot for the desert big horn sheep to get their fill of water. However, because the desert big horn sheep generally shy away from human interaction, the Barker Dam Loop Trail is closed during sunrise and sunset, the time at which these endangered animals come down from the mountain to get their fill of drink.
For more about this park, visit my two previous posts:
1. Desert Wilderness at Joshua Tree National Park
2. The Joshua Tree

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  1. What a beautiful place! I did not know about Barker Dam. I learn so much from your blogs. :)

  2. Excellent post. I've taken this hike, and it is exactly as you portray it.

  3. I have hiked with you today.


    It must be a great day with so many beautiful scenes to accompany me.

  4. When I see your pictures, I regret not going to Joshua park when we where in the area. Good article.


  5. this is one of the things that i want to visit california aside from the fact that my best friend also lives there...keep sharing the pretty works of God

  6. When I see your beautiful pictures i feel like I am tehre with you! Beautiful!

  7. wow this is a nice trail. i started running in the trails now and this is one nice trail to explore.

  8. Oh wow, Beth! This is another place I want to visit! I love all your photos, esp the one where you hug the tree.. beautiful composition! :)

  9. boo on that vandal!

    i think i can try this easy walk haha :-)

    we should do one photo walk miss beth. soon.

  10. i am blessed,i always dream of hiking with you. :)

  11. wow, such beautiful shots by a beautiful person of a beautiful place:)

  12. I have to add, super love the pose in the second photo "wink":)

  13. Oh! The Joshua tree looks interesting! : )

  14. Baker Dam sounds like a great place to explore, and looks just wonderful.

    Love the pictures with you in them!