A straightforward, relatively easy hike up one of the most prominent, centrally-located peaks in Joshua Tree National Park. From this popular trail, hikers can get nearly 360 degree views of the entire park. This is a wonderful way to get a feel for the scope of the landscape, and a highly-recommended stop for first-timers.
Ryan Mountain is a popular trail in Joshua Tree National Park. The trailhead is located at one of the park’s major road junctions, has a two nearby campgrounds, a well-maintained port-o-potty, and a large, often-full parking lot. And it’s popular reputation is all well deserved.
Unlike some of the more crowded local L.A. trails like Switzer Falls or Runyon, the crowds don’t seem to diminish the experience of this route. Maybe it’s the landscape of Joshua Tree, or the fact that people who come here are really going out of their way, so they tend to be more respectful of the environment … either way, don’t be put off by a full parking lot or big crowds. This trail is worth it.
Slowly, you’ll start to see that the trail isn’t just a simple straight line over the ridge. The rounded interior of the mountain will reveal itself as you make your way south over the moderately strenuous terrain. And again — all the while, you’ll have incredible views of the western half of the park.
On this day — and on the first time I reached the summit, there were a good number of people milling around, taking in the sweeping views of the park — including what looked like a group of students in from USC.
He has also been featured on Good Morning America, NPR, and the Associated Press, as well as in documentaries for Columbia Sportswear and the OTIS College of Art and Design.
Casey was one of eight people chosen by the National Parks Foundation to participate in the 2015 Find Your Park Expedition and is currently writing a book on day hikes in Los Angeles for Mountaineers Books.
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This post was written by Casey Schreiner on January 28, 2008