Wonderland of Rocks Traverse

Twentynine Palms, California 92277

Wonderland of Rocks Traverse

Wonderland of Rocks Traverse Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"More than a hundred million years ago, a molten mass of rock lay several miles underground, cooling and crystallizing by agonizingly slow degrees. As the mass solidified, it contracted slightly, and fractures developed within it. Over geologic time, this mass moved upward while older, overlying layers of rock were eroded away. As the younger rock neared the surface, groundwater seeping into the fractures chemically transformed some of the rock crystals into clay. Large, more-or-less rectangular blocks of rock with rounded corners became isolated from each other in a matrix of loose clay. Once exposed above the surface, the clay quickly washed away, leaving open crevices between the blocks. Various mechanical forces and chemical weathering further chipped away at the boulders and rounded them even more."

More Wonderland of Rocks Traverse Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Afoot and Afield: Inland Empire (Wilderness Press)
David & Jennifer Money Harris
View more trails from this guide book
"Travel through the Wonderland of Rocks is arduous, involving constant up and down climbing on gigantic granite boulders. It is seldom possible to see more than 100 yards ahead of you and there are few landmarks, so simply describing a route in most parts of the Wonderland is nearly impossible. A rare exception is Wonderland Traverse, which follows a well-defined wash full of jumbo rocks between Willow Hole and Rattlesnake Canyon. Even though this stretch is only 1.5 miles long, it will take hours of challenging scrambling to get through. This is no place for inexperienced hikers, especially those traveling alone. An interesting attraction on this hike is the valley of Oh-bay-yo-yo, where locals have built and maintained a fascinating “fortress” beneath an overhanging boulder. The Wonderland of Rocks is a day-use area; no camping is allowed."

Wonderland of Rocks Traverse Trip Reports

5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
icon4 Total
5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
Trail is in great condition and all snow pack has melted at top of trail as of May 10, 2008.
5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
I ascended the first 3,000' of this trail and found the trail to be in regular use. There was snow down to 2,000' and at least 12 parties had ascended to the snow line.

Excellent view of the Coachella Valley and Joshua Tree NP.
5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
The Cactus to Clouds, or Skyline Trail is one of my favorite hikes... probably second only to Half Dome. This trail ascends the east face of San Jacinto... It's in the sun from the moment it rises, so it's best to start before sun-up to get some altitude before the mercury heads north. The terrain is varied... from low desert to high, and then to alpine... I don't know of any other trail that offers such a variety of plant life. From the trail head to the tram station there is NO WATER... it's 9 miles climbing 8,000 feet... you must pack in all your own hydration. And water isn't sufficient in the summer months... you must have electrolyte replacement. The hike can finish at the tram station or continue on to the peak... another 6.2 miles. If one hikes from the trail head at Ramon Road (235 ft. above sea level) to the peak (10,800 ft. above sea level) They have just hiked the longest single ascending trial in the contiguous United States... a gain of 10, 562 ft. The part I like about my annual July 3rd hike to the tram station, is taking in some hydration at the tram station bar and enjoying a bit of Wimbolden on the bar television... One thing to know... the Skyline Trail should not be descended... You really cannot go back the way you came... You need to arrange for a ride back to the trail head, or call a cab to take you from the tram station back to your car... a familiar trip for local cabbies. E-mail me if you're ever in the desert... I would love to be your trail guide!! LadyRunr@aol.com
5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
A great trail, although not nearly as steep as the guidebooks say. I think the best part is up to the tram. I was wondering when it was going to get steep. To the summit took me just over 4 hours.

Wonderland of Rocks Traverse Photos

Trail Information

Twentynine Palms
Nearby City
200 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
6 hours
Joshua Tree National Park
Local Contacts
USGS 7.5-minute Indian Cove
Local Maps

Trail Log