Bicycling in Joshua Tree National Park
Mountain biking is a great way to see Joshua Tree. Bikers are restricted to roads that are used by motorized vehicles, including the main park roads and a few four-wheel-drive trails. Most scenic stops, picnic areas, and trailheads have bike racks.
Black Eagle Mine Road. This 9-mile dead-end road is peppered with defunct mines. It runs along the edge of a former lake bed, then crosses a number of dry washes before navigating several of Eagle Mountain's canyons. Trailhead off Pinto Basin Rd., 6½ mi north of Cottonwood Visitor Center, Joshua Tree National Park, CA, 92277.
Covington Flats. This 4-mile route takes you past impressive Joshua trees as well as pinyon pines, junipers, and areas of lush desert vegetation. It's tough going toward the end, but once you reach 5,516-foot Eureka Peak you'll have great views of Palm Springs, the Morongo Basin, and the surrounding mountains. Trailhead at Covington Flats picnic area, La Contenta Rd., 10 mi south of Rte. 62, Joshua Tree National Park, CA, 92277.
Old Dale Road. The first 11 miles of this unpaved 23-mile route run across Pinto Basin to the Old Dale Mining District, where several side roads head off toward dusty old shafts. Here you find Mission Well, dug to provide water for the area's mines and mills. The vegetation is remarkably varied, including tiny yellow chinchweed and desert willows. Trailhead off Pinto Basin Rd., 7 mi north of Cottonwood Visitor Center, Joshua Tree National Park, CA, 92277.
Pinkham Canyon and Thermal Canyon Roads. This challenging 20-mile route begins at the Cottonwood Visitor Center and loops through the Cottonwood Mountains. The unpaved trail follows Smoke Tree Wash through Pinkham Canyon, rounds Thermal Canyon, and loops back to the beginning. Rough in places, the road travels through soft sand and rocky flood plains. Trailhead at Cottonwood Visitor Center, Joshua Tree National Park, CA, 92277.
Queen Valley. This 13.4-mile network of mostly level roads winds through one of the park's most impressive groves of Joshua trees. Trailhead at Hidden Valley Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CA, 92277.
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