Baker, California 92364


Hole-in-the-Wall Professional Review and Guide

"This short but unforgettable hike leads through a rugged slot canyon and onto yucca-studded flats surrounded by volcanic cliffs and buttes. This short hike may be the most exciting and spectacular in all Mojave National Preserve. The Rings Trail passes through a very narrow slot in a cliff of volcanic rock, descends to the ominously named gorge of Banshee Canyon, then opens up into lower Wild Horse Canyon, a beautiful valley embraced by volcanic cliffs and buttes. Although the Rings Trail is potentially dangerous, it’s not as difficult as it may first appear. Anyone with even a little scrambling experience will enjoy the exciting descent into Banshee Canyon. The route is, however, not recommended for small children."

More Hole-in-the-Wall Professional Reviews and Guides

"A volcanic eruption 18 million years ago in the Mojave Desert emitted dense blasts of super-heated ash. The ash, dust, and volcanic gas from the eruption compacted and cemented together as it cooled, forming what is known as volcanic tuff. This popular loop hike explores the narrow Banshee Canyon that snakes through the fascinating and colorful rock formation. Gas trapped in the ash created pockets in the tuff resembling eternally moaning mouths, and the wind howls as it blows through the canyon. The hike descends a short vertical section in the narrow slot canyon; metal rings have been set in the rock to provide holds."

Hole-in-the-Wall Reviews

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This fun trail commences adjacent to the picnic area at the Hole in the Wall visitor center. Though it is touted in the guidebooks as the "most exciting" hike in the MNP, the real draw is the initial descent through volcanic ash flows that have weathered into some amazing and interesting features. Though it was momentarily fun to descend through two steep drops within the slotted canyon on the existing iron rings, the trail eventually opened onto a relative flat plain within Wild Horse Canyon that is easy strolling. The vegetation within the Wild Horse Canyon is grazed by cattle, so there are significant components of non-native vegetation interspersed with native veg. I think the areas further north towards Mid Hills campground showcase relatively unspoiled habitat that better exemplify the regional ecology. Nevertheless, panoramic views and beautiful barrel cacti, cholla, and yucca abound along the trail. The weather was gusty, chilly (~40 deg F), grey and threatening rain, so I didn't explore as much as I had hoped to.

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
1 hour
Best March through May and October through November
4,280 feet
Trailhead Elevation
4,280 feet
Top Elevation
Mojave National Preserve
Local Contacts
USGS Columbia Mountain
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Nov 2018