Access Special Features, Register Now!

Joshua Tree National Park: Lost Palms Oasis

This 7.4-mile out-and-back rolls over hills dotted with spiky yuccas, ocotillos, and cactus before dropping into the lush Lost Palms Oasis in Joshua Tree National Park.

Trip Tools

Home to the largest stand of fan palms in Joshua Tree National Park, the Lost Palms Oasis is a refreshing reward for hikers on this 7.4-mile desert trek. Starting near the southern border of the park at Cottonwood Spring Trailhead, the hike climbs to the southeast through scrub-covered desert. Watch for hummingbirds that dart around the surrounding yuccas, chollas, and ocotillos. (In early summer, red flower clusters adorn the tips of the ocotillo plants.)

Massive boulder piles and rocky gullies become more common as the trail nears Lost Palms Oasis. At mile 2.3, turn right into a wash and follow the sandy trail through a maze-like wall of rocks. Next, descend into a small canyon lined with gullies and gorges and continue hiking southeast. One mile later, turn right onto a short spur trail that leads to bird’s-eye views of the green, shaggy-topped fan palms. After 3.5 miles, a short, downward scramble drops down to the oasis, a prime spot for picnicking and bouldering. After relaxing at the oasis, retrace the route back to the trailhead.

Synthetic T-shirt
Synthetic shorts or pantsSynthetic undies
Wool hiking socks
Hiking shoes or boots
Sunscreen (SPF 15+)
Midweight synthetic or fleece long-sleeve top
Wool or fleece hat
Waterproof/breathable jacket and pants
Map, compass, GPS unit
Water containers and water treatment
First-aid kit
Extra food and snacks
Firestarting kit
Lighweight gloves
TP and trowel

-Mapped by Amy Balfour

To Trailhead

From Indio, CA, take I-10 E about 25 miles to the Cottonwood Springs Road exit. Follow it north 7 miles to the Cottonwood Visitor Center. Turn right and follow Cottonwood Spring Road just over 1 mile to the parking area and trailhead.

Leave a Reply