“A trail up Ryan Mountain where sweeping view of Joshua Tree NP await.”
— David Hitchcock
Views · Wildflowers
It's an uphill hike, but kids enjoy the views and the challenge. At any point, you can turn around and return to your car.
The Ryan Mountain
Trail offers some of the best and expansive views of the park. Climbing roughly 1000 feet over 1.5 miles, views of the surrounding valleys and mountains spread out before you. The trail is very popular, so you won't be the only one on the trail. Due to the lack of shade, this trail is best taken early in the morning or later in the evening to take advantage of the cooler temperatures. While a difficult route, children enjoy the views and adventure of climbing the mountain.
Need to Know
There are limited amounts of shade on this trail, so make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen for your journey. Make sure you wear a hat to help shade yourself from the sun.
To access the trailhead, take Park Boulevard 2.1 miles east from the Keys View Road turn off and pull into the large parking lot on the right side of the road. There is a large sign describing the whole route where the trail starts.
The Ryan Mountain
Trailhead immediately beings climbing from the parking lot as the trail splits two large boulder piles that are prime for exploring. The trail is composed of gravel, sand and stairs as the trail begins its way up the mountain. You can see the trail as it makes its way up the right side of the mountain. At roughly .2 miles, the trail intersects with the Sheep Pass Connector Trail
that comes in from the left from Sheep Pass Campground. The Ryan Mountain
Trail goes off to the right as it begins climbing more steeply up the mountain. The grade of the trail stays well above 15% for almost a mile before the trail levels out, so be ready to climb as the trail gains 1000 feet of elevation in roughly 1.5 miles.
As the trail climbs up the mountain, sweeping views of the park spread out before you on the right side of the trail. Joshua trees, boulder piles, and the mountains in the distant become more impressive as the trail makes its way up the mountain. Around .9 miles, the trail crosses a saddle in the mountain, which provides a brief respite from the climb. It's a great place to stop and take in the view before the trail continues to climb up the other side of the mountain.
The route from here has fewer steps even through it continues to climb to the summit of Ryan Mountain
. Enjoy views of Yucca cacti, red barrel cacti, and in the springtime other flowering plants. Stunning panoramic views spread out before you. Finally leveling off for the last tenth of a mile, the trail reaches the summit of Ryan Mountain
. A sign indicating the elevation (5457 feet) is found at the summit, as well as a large pile of rocks that people have contributed to over the years.
Take the opportunity to enjoy some of the best views in the park and rest before beginning your journey back to the parking lot via the path that you traveled.
Flora & Fauna
Yucca cacti, red barrel cacti, and other flowering plants are found along the trail.