Ryan Mountain Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"Elongated Ryan Mountain rises above the boulder-studded plains of Lost Horse and Queen Valleys in Joshua Tree National Park. The view from the top is arguably the best in the national park, encompassing the blocky summits of San Jacinto and San Gorgonio, the intricately dissected Wonderland of Rocks, and a succession of shimmering basins and skeletal mountain ranges stretching east toward the Colorado River and south toward Baja California."
--Jerry Schad and David Money Harris, 101 Hikes in Southern California: Exploring Mountains, Seashore and Desert (Wilderness Press).
"What a misnomer! This was never a city and the pines are scarce, but it’s a lovely green spot to visit. Bighorn sheep are drawn to this desert refuge, especially during summer. The former mining camp is tucked in a picturesque desert ravine with dramatic"
--Bill Cunningham & Polly Cunningham, Best Easy Day Hikes: Joshua Tree (Falcon Guides).
"The trail leaves from the parking area through a massive boulder gate of White Tank granite sculpted by selective erosion. This well-signed official park trail is quite a display of rock workmanship. Steeper portions of the trail feature stair-steps artfully constructed from plentiful native rocks, so it's easy walking up and no skidding going down. The trail winds around the hill by the trailhead, and takes a relatively gentle slope to the peak. If you have spent several days walking nature trails, visiting mine sites, and hiking canyon washes, this peak climb provides a welcome aerial view of where you've been in the central portion of the park. This moderate out and back hike provides a central panorama of the park from an easily accessible peak."
--Bill & Polly Cunningham, Hiking California's Desert Parks (Falcon Guides).
"This excellent trail leads to a high, isolated mountain in the west-central area of the park. Expansive vistas open up across much of Joshua Tree and the surrounding desert. Ryan Mountain, one of the highest peaks in Joshua Tree National Park, is an isolated massif rising between the broad, Joshua tree–covered flats of Lost Horse Valley to the west and Queen Valley to the east. Its open summit and isolated location affords panoramic views of much of the park, including the Queen and Little San Bernardino Mountains and the rockbound landscape of the Wonderland of Rocks. The hike follows one of the best constructed trails in Joshua Tree, though it does rise at a steady, moderate grade. It’s an enjoyable hike from autumn through spring, but the mountain is often swept by strong winds. Winter is an ideal time to hike here, when the desert air is clear and vistas stretch to far horizons."
--Ron Adkison, Hiking Southern California (Falcon Guides).
"Ryan is perhaps the park’s most popular mountain to climb. The trail to its summit is incredibly easy to follow and well-used. Many summits in the park do not have maintained trails, so this one is easier to access. It is not so overcrowded as to be considered a “freeway,” but there will almost always be someone else on the trail, even on weekdays. There isn’t much shade along the way, and only an occasional rock or rock overhang to provide a bit of respite from the sun. Joshua trees do sporadically line the lower portion of the trail, but they are not known for their arboreal covering."
--Allen Riedel, 100 Classic Hikes in Southern California (The Mountaineers Books).
"Jep and Thomas Ryan owned the lucrative Lost Horse Mine. They built a homestead around 1900, and the bright red adobe walls are still visible. The mountain overlooking their homestead has come to be known as Ryan Mtn. At 5461 feet, it is one of the tallest peaks in Joshua Tree National Park. Ryan Mtn. offers perhaps the best panoramic view in the park."
--David & Jennifer Money Harris, Afoot and Afield: Inland Empire (Wilderness Press).
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