Valley of the Moon Trail

Jacumba, California

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Strolling through the aptly named Valley of the Moon, you might think that a square-mile patch of Joshua Tree National Park has been magically transported there—minus, of course, the famous Joshua trees. Ponderous outcrops of granitic rock, seamed with horizontal and vertical cracks, ring the valley. Valley of the Moon’s sandy floor is dotted with spiky clumps of Mojave yucca, spiny catclaw bushes, clumps of Mormon tea (used by early pioneers to brew a potent beverage), and buckwheat bushes. Old four-wheel-drive trails meander amid the statuesque boulder heaps on the valley’s south side. Photographers should be here early or late in the day, when the sun bathes the stone battlements in warm light, and crisp shadows march across the valley.

Valley of the Moon Trail Professional Review and Guide

"Strolling through the aptly named Valley of the Moon, you might think that a square-mile patch of Joshua Tree National Park has been magically transported there—minus, of course, the famous Joshua trees. Ponderous outcrops of granitic rock, seamed with horizontal and vertical cracks, ring the valley. Valley of the Moon’s sandy floor is dotted with spiky clumps of Mojave yucca, spiny catclaw bushes, clumps of Mormon tea (used by early pioneers to brew a potent beverage), and buckwheat bushes. Old four-wheel-drive trails meander amid the statuesque boulder heaps on the valley’s south side. Photographers should be here early or late in the day, when the sun bathes the stone battlements in warm light, and crisp shadows march across the valley."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Jacumba
Distance: 7
Elevation Gain: 900 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 4 hours
Season: October through May
Local Contacts: Bureau of Land Management, El Centro Field Office
Local Maps: USGS In-Koh-Pah Gorge
Driving Directions: Directions to Valley of the Moon Trail

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May 2018