Place Name: Joshua Tree National Park
Place Description: State: California
Elevation: 5,560 Feet
Prominence: 800 Feet
Elevation Gain: 810 Feet
Lists: Andy Zdon's Desert Peaks, Sierra Club Hundred Peaks Section
Less Traveled Gem In Joshua Tree
Located at the Key’s View parking area, this small and unsigned use trail takes you to the summit of Inspiration Peak, giving you some solitude in one of the busiest areas in the park.
- Good use trail
- Cool summit area
- Not a well traveled trail
- Parking is a nightmare
- Would be brutal in summer
- Trail disappears a bit in spots
After hiking up Ryan Mountain in the morning, I was looking to add a second summit. Before the trip I marked off Inspiration Peak as a good option for a short, kid friendly hike later in the day. We set off to Key’s View and made the quick trek to the summit.
If you look in the Joshua Tree NP trail guides, you will not find Inspiration Peak. Despite starting at one of the busiest spots in the park, this trail has zero signage. We had some trouble finding parking since it was completely full. Also, you can’t even see the summit from the Keys View Parking Lot. I had pre-downloaded a track and we started up the trail.
The trail is well defined for most of the hike, however, there was one area we lost it. This was a section that cut down through some large rocks wrapping around the ridge line. Once you get past that, you will see a random electric box in the low point just below the summit. It’s not very far from there.
We reached the summit in 25 minutes with some ups and downs along the trail. Nothing was very steep. In the rock pile we found a nice can with the summit register.
There is also a wire cactus that is affixed to rock which makes for a cool photo opportunity. Views extended over 100 miles into Mexico!
On the way back down, I noticed the Peak Bagger app showing South Inspiration Peak. Never one to turn down an easy summit, we took the quick detour to a rocky summit. This summit can be seen from parking lot.
This is a fun and quick hike for a peak that sits on two lists and boasts 800 feet of prominence. A worthwhile expedition!