Old Dale Road

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Old Dale Road literally offers the best of both worlds! Passing through the Joshua Tree National Park, the Old Dale Road trail crosses two deserts- The Mojave and the Colorado.

As part of its journey through the Colorado desert the trail takes you through the Pinto Basin before entering the area in between the two deserts.

Within the Colorado desert you see cacti, chollas, ocotillos and ironwood trees while in the Mojave desert you come across the Joshua trees. In the zone where these two meet, the vegetation comes together.

You begin this trail at the Pinto Basin Road about 6 miles to the north of Cottonwood Visitor Center. You then travel down the bajada and into the base of the Pinto Mountains. This is a beautiful area especially in spring when the flora is in bloom.

As you move further you pass by the Mission Well and the Mission Mill site. The trail then climbs the Pinto Mountains and you leave the Joshua Tree National Park and the Colorado Desert behind. The trail turns difficult at this point as it gets uneven and rocky. Make sure your 4WD is suitably equipped.

One of the common sights in the Pinto Mountains are the several mines that dot the landscape. Many of these have not been operational for a long time You can take any of the many short spurs to reach them. One such mine is the Duplex Mine site which is situated on a ridge. You also get some good views from here.

As you continue along the main trail you reach the Gold Crown Road and pass New Dale as well. Progress further and it gets wider and easier as it moves to end at the settlement of Old Dale on California 62.


Camping is not permitted in the Joshua Tree National Park sections of this trail and the only facility is at the visitor centre in Cottonwood Canyon. You have to pay to enter the Joshua Tree National Park.

Maps and GPS Coordinates[edit]

Old Dale Road Coordinates: 33.828000° -115.758333° Coordinates: 33.828000° -115.758333°