Berdoo Canyon Trail

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Elevation Gain3,708ft
Trailhead Elevation1,730ft
Elevation Min/Max1730/4285ft
Elevation Start/End1730/1730ft

Berdoo Canyon Trail

Berdoo Canyon Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Riverside County, California. It is within Joshua Tree National Park. It is 11.7 miles long and begins at 1,730 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 23.5 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,708 feet. This trail connects with the following: Geology Tour Road.

Berdoo Canyon Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Backcountry Adventures: Southern California (Adler Publishing )
Peter Massey & Jeanne Wilson
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"Berdoo Canyon Trail travels down the sandy, winding Berdoo Canyon through the Little San Bernardino Mountains, connecting South Coast #40: Joshua Tree National Park Geology Tour to Dillon Road. The trail leaves from the one-way loop of the geology tour. If driving the trail in reverse, you must turn left at the end of the trail to complete the loop in the required direction. The trail initially travels south across sandy Pleasant Valley toward the Little San Bernardino Mountains, gradually ascending the bajada to enter the mouth of Berdoo Canyon. The slope’s surface is easily rearranged by rainfall. This section is often uneven, with ruts and loose sand. Special Attractions: Site of Berdoo Camp; Alternate exit to the south from South Coast #40: Joshua Tree National Park Geology Tour; Long, winding canyon within the Little San Bernardino Mountains. High-clearance 4WDs are recommended, though most stock SUVs are acceptable. Expect a rough road surface with rocks larger than 6 inches, but there will be a reasonable driving line available. Patches of mud are possible but can be readily negotiated; sand may be deep and require lower tire pressures. There may be stream crossings up to 12 inches deep, substantial sections of single-lane shelf road, moderate grades, and sections of moderately loose road surface."
California Desert Byways (Wilderness Press)
Tony Huegel
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"Berdoo Canyon Road passes through a biological transition zone, where the high Mojave Desert and the low Colorado Desert meet, and plants and animals from both deserts coexist. Watch along the way as cholla cacti at the lower end, a mere 700 or so feet elevation, are replaced by Joshua trees and creosote bush as you climb to well over 4,000 feet before descending to Pleasant Valley at about 3,300 feet. There, you will connect with the park’s Geology Tour Road."

Berdoo Canyon Trail Trip Reports

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This is a challenging drive! I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee - I wouldn't recommend taking a similar low-clearance vehicle. There are some really narrow rocky passages and I was scared we were going to rip up the underside of the vehicle. It's beautiful, though, and a fun ride!
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A nice little drive! I took this from Joshua Tree down into the Coachella Valley. You start on Park Blvd to the Geology Tour road. From the Geology road tour you hang a Left at the sign for Berdoo Canyon Road. Everything is very very well marked.

As for the drive itself, not too difficult. There is no technical driving skill needed. I did do it in 4wheel high with no complications or issues. It took about 3 hours from Joshua Tree to Palm Springs. The drive in the canyon in great and very pretty. From the top of the Canyon you can see out to the Salton Sea.

fun drive, will do it again!
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This trail is mostly manageable by any vehicle. There was only one 100-200 foot section that definitely required off-road capability. Seasonally there may be washed out sections. We took it east-bound from Indio into Joshua Tree NP.

Berdoo Canyon Trail Photos

Trail Information

Joshua Tree National Park
Nearby City
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Local Contacts
ACSC San Diego, National Geographic/Trails Illustrated’s Joshua Tree National Park, CRRA
USGS Malapai Hill, Rockhouse Canyon, West Berdoo Canyon, Palm Springs
Local Maps

Trail Log