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Cap Rock Nature Trail

Joshua Tree National Park

March 28th, 2010

0.4 miles
20 vertical feet
Total Time: 0:25

Starting elevation
4268 feet
Max elevation
4282 feet

Rating: 3/10

Directions: From Joshua Tree, drive south along Park Blvd. and enter the park via the West Entrance Station. Continue following the road past Hidden Valley. At the fork in the road, continue straight (right) toward Keys View, but almost immediately turn left into the Cap Rock parking lot.   View Driving Map

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GPX File

The Cap Rock Nature Trail is a short flat walk originating near the base of Cap Rock, a collection of quartz monzonite boulders which gets its name from the hat-like rock at the top of it. Cap Rock is a popular place for rock climbers, so you'll probably be able to watch them. There are also a few picnic tables near the base.

The large parking lot, capable of holding perhaps 40 cars, was only about 1/4 full when we arrived. At the trailhead, we immediately had to decide whether to go left or right. It's a loop so it doesn't really matter; we chose left. There's no need for pamphlets for this nature trail, since there are a series of small metal signs which give descriptions of the plants along the trail.

Starting off on the trail

Little Joshua trees

The trail doesn't actually encircle Cap Rock itself. It starts at the base but instead does a loop around another collection of boulders. Kids will probably have fun climbing up and down the rocks. Other than that, there's mostly Joshua Trees and cactus. We also saw caterpillars building nests in some bushes.

Cap Rock


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