Hiking Project Logo

Barker Dam Nature Trail

 4.1 (26)


1.2 Miles 1.9 Kilometers

52' 16 m


-45' -14 m



Avg Grade (1°)


Max Grade (3°)

4,288' 1,307 m


4,255' 1,297 m


Shared By Bill Rizzo


All Clear 76 days ago
Dry History

Getting forecast...

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

Bill Rizzo

Dogs No Dogs

Features Cave · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

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


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.

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.


You & This Trail

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Trail

Your Check-Ins


Dec 2, 2018
Theo Geibel
Nov 24, 2018
Luis Barreto Jr
Nov 21, 2018
Carol Skelly
Great views, a little climbing
Oct 12, 2018
Michael Harrison
Sep 29, 2018
Brad Strathman
Nice loop trail with plenty of spots to get a good picture of a Joshua tree. The Barker Dam is very interesting stop. 1.3mi
Sep 23, 2018
Adam Stallman
Going at the end of summer, there wasn’t any water behind the dam. 1.3mi
Sep 2, 2018
Pat Wagman
Sep 2, 2018
Erin Hart

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 26 votes


  4.1 from 26 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star


in California


100 Views Last Month
725 Since Apr 29, 2016
Easy Easy



Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking