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A trail to an interesting tank created in ~1900 to water live stock; Petroglyphs are an added bonus!

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4,287' 1,307 m


4,255' 1,297 m


49' 15 m


48' 15 m



Avg Grade (1°)


Max Grade (3°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Cave · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly This fairly easy trail offers children cool sights to see along the way.

Be aware that this area can see heavy traffic and congested parking during peak season. There is a shuttle stop for the park that you can use to help reduce traffic to the area.


Today, the Barker Dam holds rainwater and runoff for the local wild animals, though the dam was originally constructed in 1900 for the use of cattle and mining purposes. Some petroglyphs can be found inside a small carved out rock that visitors pass on the return, though somebody has gone over them with new ink. Bummer.

Need to Know

Be sure to bring water be safe; on the trail there's a combo of little shade and hot sun. There are restrooms but no snack or drink offerings.


The trail is an easy hike, though closed toed shoes are recommended due to cactus. From the parking lot, follow the rope fencing to get to the trailhead. The trail is clearly marked and the normal direction of travel is counterclockwise. At the top of the trail (north end) is the reservoir, and you'll be on the eastern end of it. As you move west you get closer to the actual dam and you'll be able to see the multiple building iterations more clearly if you pass it and turn back and face east. Shortly after passing the dam, you'll overlook an old cattle trough.

After passing the dam and the cattle trough, you'll start your return leg (south) and pass a Joshua Tree (with a sign). Continuing on, you'll come to a sign directing your either back to the trail split point or further on (about 20 meters) to a portion of rock with some petroglyphs. It is worth the 20 meters, but they have been re-drawn, which makes them easier to see. While informative, the "new" petroglyphs lose some of their magic.

Returning to the trail, you'll head down a small set of steps and end back up on the original trail approximately 300 meters from the car park.

This trail shares a parking lot with the Wall Street Mill Trail. Barker Dam Nature Trail is on the west side of the lot and the Wall Street Mill Trail is on the eastern side.

Flora & Fauna

The park map states "Birds abound", though we saw only a few. We did see two rabbits, and as expected, we saw both cactus and Joshua Trees.


Shared By:

Bill Rizzo with improvements by Wayne Fisher and 1 other

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 57 votes


  4.1 from 57 votes
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in California


17 Views Last Month
2,760 Since Apr 29, 2016
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate



Eastside or backside of Baker Dam facing N. Nice reflections in the water. Lots of people taking photos of each other.
Jan 28, 2019 near Twentyn…, CA
Person screen left following trail drops to valley floor, what a view! Boulders, brush and cactus a plenty oh my! This is trail counter-clockwise and start of W side leg after dam wall. About 315pm so facing W rocks are in shadow.
Jan 28, 2019 near Twentyn…, CA
Westside or dam wall of Baker Dam picture center. Note water level even after a rain is low, Dec 2018. Trail continues though boulders screen left and behind view. People were hiking very close to the wall but rangers were around.
Jan 28, 2019 near Twentyn…, CA
A well-shaded visitor travels along the Barker Dam Nature Trail. Photo credit: NPS/Brad Sutton.
May 25, 2017 near Twentyn…, CA
Petroglyphs on Barker Dam nature trail. Park has excellent signage; directional and info. You can easily see this formation 30-50ft off trail next to info sign. Trail is behind and to the left, and continues back to trailhead. Facing S @ 330pm.
Jan 28, 2019 near Twentyn…, CA
Visitors can see "bathtub" rings, marking the historic levels of water in the reservoir.
May 25, 2017 near Twentyn…, CA


Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 79 days ago
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Dec 15, 2023
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