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Bajada Nature Trail

 3.0 (2)

A quick and easy way to learn about and identify the native plants on your way into Joshua Tree NP.

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1,917' 584 m


1,906' 581 m


12' 4 m


12' 4 m



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Dogs No Dogs

Family Friendly It's very easy, with simple and concise signs for learning and teaching about plant identification.


For those entering Joshua Tree National Park from the south, the Bajada All-Access Nature Trail will be your first taste of the flora of the desert environment. The trail is actually several miles before the Cottonwood Spring visitor station heading north. The hike is a short 0.3 mi loop over a wide, clearly marked, hard dirt surface peppered with informational signage about each species of plant "on display." The parking area is ample for a hike this size with both handicapped and large vehicle/RV spots. A Joshua Tree overview sign greets you at the trailhead which starts in the middle of the parking area.

A sign explaining what a bajada is starts you off before you cross a short but sturdy footbridge over a creek bed. You can see the entirety of the trail from the beginning so feel free to go in either direction and space yourself out from other visitors. The path winds around in a loop where you can stop and read signs describing each of the more common desert plant species you'll see many more times in the park. There are several benches to stop and sit and relax (not that you would need rest, as it's an extremely easy trail).

After reading the signs, you'll be an expert on ironwood, ocotillo, brittlebush, creosote, and mistletoe among many others! Seriously, later in the park you'll be able to answer somebody when they ask "what's this bush?" Except for Joshua trees; there are none in this area of the desert where this trail is located.

After your 20 minutes or so of meandering, return to your vehicle and get back on your way into the rest of Joshua Tree armed with just a little more plant expertise. While this is not a very fulfilling hike, we definitely appreciated knowing a little more about what we were looking at throughout the rest of the park.

Flora & Fauna

Brttilebush, creosote, ironwood, ocotillo, cactus, palo verde, chuparosa, indigo bush, mistletoe.


Shared By:

Eric Safstrom

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  3.0 from 2 votes
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in California


3 Views Last Month
739 Since Apr 8, 2016



Desert - Lupines going crazy blooming after plenty of winter rain this year. Cold crystal clear February morning on Bajada Nature Trail.
Feb 20, 2019 near Coachella, CA
Desert - Ocotillo (red) and lupine (purple) on display with gorgeous mountain backdrop. Cold crystal clear February morning on Bajada Nature Trail.
Feb 20, 2019 near Coachella, CA
The Bajada Nature Trail begins with a sturdy footbridge over a sandy wash.
Jan 24, 2017 near Coachella, CA
Desert bouquet - Lupines, brittlebush, poppies (?), etc. thanks to plenty of rain this winter. Cold crystal clear February morning on Bajada Nature Trail.
Feb 20, 2019 near Coachella, CA
Ocotillo blooms brighten the Bajada Nature Trail. Photo credit: NPS/Lian Law.
May 25, 2017 near Coachella, CA
Desert - mountains and wildflowers. Start of Bajada Nature Trail. Cold crystal clear February morning. Plenty of winter rain this year :>)
Feb 20, 2019 near Coachella, CA



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Mar 14, 2021
Kristy Van
Mar 14, 2019
Ryan Gillikin
8h 00m
Feb 19, 2019
Joan Pendleton
Oct 12, 2018
Frank Czerwiec
Way to start J tree 0.3mi
Apr 29, 2018
Hannah Bee
Dec 26, 2017
Wei Liu