The Barker Dam Nature Trail in Joshua Tree National Park is a 1.1 mile loop where you can enjoy the vast landscape of Joshua Tree as well as learn about the history of the area.
Barker Dam History
Barker Dam was built around 1900 by early cattle ranchers in the area. They used the dam to hold water for their cattle. Along with having the water for mining usage. Today, if it does happen to rain, the dam will fill up with water. This makes for amazing pictures, especially at sunrise. It’s also a source of water for the wildlife residing in the park. So keep your eyes out for birds and bighorn sheep.
Since it has recently rained a lot here in California there was a small amount of water in the reservoir. It was pretty cool to see a pool of water in the middle of the harsh desert climate. No luck in spotting wildlife but I did find this adorable cactus growing in between the boulders!
How To Get To Barker Dam
When your in the National Park you’ll get a park map and you can easily pin point Barker Dam on the map. Use your park map and the signs through out the park to navigate to the parking lot for Barker Dam.
The parking lot was very full when we arrived and we had to drive around a couple times looking for someone to leave. This seems to be a very popular area of the park.
I’m assuming Barker Dam is popular because the trail takes you through a lot of different terrain and landscape but it’s also a relatively easy trail. We saw a ton of families out enjoying the day. You’ll see many different elements of the desert when exploring Barker Dam so expect to see a lot of people!
Barker Dam Nature Trail Tips
- Make sure to bring water, all these nature trails sound easy but you need to remember you’re out in the desert and it gets HOT!
- Great opportunity for photographs. You have the historical dam, Joshua Trees, expansive open areas and large boulders around you.
- Don’t forget to check out the ancient petroglyphs. They are easy to miss if you don’t keep your eyes on the trail signs. They’ll be near the end of your loop.
More Barker Dam Resources
- Cali49 has some great images of the dam filled with water.
- Please respect the damn and petroglyphs, back in 2013 the area was shut down because of vandalism.
- Modern Hiker takes on Barker Dam.
- Joshua Tree Map
Now get out and take a hike! Adventure awaits!