Ryan Mountain
Ryan Mountain

Place Name: Joshua Tree National Park

Place Description: State: California
Date: 11/26/2019
Elevation: 5,457 Feet
Prominence: 937 Feet
Miles: 2.7
Elevation Gain: 1,100 Feet
Lists: Andy Zdon's Desert Peaks, Sierra Club Hundred Peaks Section

  • Difficulty
  • Solitude
  • Kid Friendly
  • Summit Views

Crowded Trail In The Heart Of Joshua Tree

Ryan Mountain is a very popular trail in the middle of Joshua Tree National Park. You won’t find any solitude here, but the trail is very well graded and easy to follow. Definitely family friendly.



  • Family friendly
  • Easy trail to follow
  • Ample parking


  • Lots of people
  • Would be brutal in summer
  • Prickly bushes

Joshua Tree National Park is a fabulous area to visit with many trails and numerous peaks to bag. There is no debate which is the most popular. Ryan Mountain lies in the northern region of the park and is an easy summit to bag. Despite the crowds on this trail, this is is still a worthwhile hike.

The Trail

I found myself on this trail on my 40th birthday, along with my wife and two kids. The Ryan Mountain Trail is very easy to follow from the parking area. Snaking its way around the base of the mountain, the trail gains 1100 feet in 1.5 miles. Even though the gain is almost 1,000 feet per mile, the grades never seem that steep or difficult. If my 7-year old girl can summit this mountain, almost any one could. There are stone steps cut into much of the trail.

Lots of steps and stairs cut into the mountain.

Following the trail takes you around the side of the first hill before reaching a small pass. Above the pass the trail opens up into a high valley.

While we were here during Thanksgiving week, I can only imagine how brutal this hike would be in the summer. There is no shade and you would definitely cook! Make sure to stay on the trail as everything in the desert is quite prickly.

Yucca plant along the Ryan Mountain Trail.

The Summit

After hiking to the top, your award will be gorgeous views of Joshua Tree and all of its surrounding peaks. There is a large rock pile on top and post that used to have a sign marking the elevation.

Ryan Mountain Summit

First summit of Ryan Mountain!

Unfortunately, someone stole the sign. Overall, the hike is 3 miles round trip and very easy to follow. I’m sure there are better peaks in Joshua Tree, however, if you have time for only one, Ryan Mountain is a good choice. Later in the afternoon we drove to Key’s View hiked Inspiration Peak.

If staying in 29 Palms on your visit to Joshua Tree, be sure to grab a bite to eat at The Rib Co. It’s fantastic and the cheesecake is amazing!