Split Rock Loop

Scenic stroll among the boulders, tucked out of the way near the busy Skull Rock area.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
3.1 km
Ascent
68 m
Descent
68 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
1.3 km
High Point
1.3 km
Gradient
VIEW ON MAP
Split Rock Loop Map

Description

Though it’s next to the busy Skull Rock area, Split Rock Trail does not get nearly the same crowds. Because it’s tucked off the main road (reached by a short dirt road that’s fine for all cars), and because it’s more of a hike than a roadside stop, fewer people check out this trail.

If you want a little solitude among the boulders on an easy hike, this is the perfect one. From the parking area, signs direct hikers on a counter-clockwise loop, first passing the namesake Split Rock, an egg-shaped boulder with a crack dividing it in two.

The trail then wanders farther into the maze of granite, all worn into various shapes and sizes by ages of weathering. Some have very charismatic features, and not just the named ones like Mummy Rock and Face Rock. You’ll likely pick out numerous anthropomorphic forms in other eroded boulders as well.

The trail has minor ups and downs, including some steeper sections with constructed stairs. In places where the path goes over bare rock, stones have been placed to outline the trail. It’s never too difficult or too hard to follow, so this hike is suitable for all ages.

Just over halfway through the loop, you’ll notice a signed junction for Face Rock, which is a particularly large formation a short distance away. This makes a worthwhile side trip, if you want to add 10-15 minutes to the hike. After seeing Face Rock, simply backtrack to the loop and continue along it, through even more boulder jumbles, to return to the parking area.

Sources: https://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/hiking.htm https://hikingguy.com/hiking-trails/joshua-tree-hikes/hike-split-rock-joshua-tree-loop-trail/

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area