Barker Dam Trail

Barker Dam Trail, Joshua Tree National Park: Address, Phone Number, Barker Dam Trail Reviews: 4.5/5

Barker Dam Trail
4.5
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
321 reviews
Excellent
165
Very good
119
Average
33
Poor
4
Terrible
0

DrHickenlocher
Irvine, CA1,067 contributions
Nov 2020
I now understand why the Barker Dam trail is the most popular hike in Joshua Tree. If you have only one day in the park, the Barker Dam trail is an excellent way to see “everything” all in one place, and it's not very long overall. Just be prepared for crowds. We went on a Monday morning while everyone else was working or in school, and it was STILL pretty busy.

The valley on the first third makes for very easy and safe rock scrambling. The dam itself is a unique man-made feature, and bonus points if you’re lucky enough to go when there is water in the reservoir. Despite the previous weekend’s winter storm, it was completely dry when we arrived, but we took advantage to go off the trail and walk through the empty lake bed itself all the way up to the very base of the dam. Cool photo-op. The second third of the trail is a desert hike through a Joshua Tree forest. At the end of that, there is a really cool cave with petroglyphs and pictographs that are fairly easy to scramble into, even for kids, and my kids especially loved the “exit tunnel” out the back of that cave. We also had a white-tailed antelope squirrel come right up to us until it got scared away by a blue jay flying past.

Overall, Alltrails recorded me walking 2.1 miles (including side trips to scramble up rocks here and there and walking through the dry lake bed), with a moving time of 1 hr and 17 minutes and a total visit of 1:46. We certainly weren't moving fast and instead spent a lot of time taking in the scenery, so you can speed that up if necessary for your own itinerary.
Written November 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

WAcat28
Spokane, wa43 contributions
Jan 2022
We visited early in the morning, there were other hikers but it wasn't crowded. There was water at the dam so quite a few interesting birds to see there. The path was easy and pretty flat. Nice short hike with the history of the dam explained at the start. Enjoyed!
Written February 4, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Bill K
Mantorville, MN6,099 contributions
Jan 2022
This is a much prettier trail and dam to visit during non-drought times. Still, I would recommend hiking this trail. The petroglyphs and historical markers make this very accessible trail one the whole family can enjoy.
Written January 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Glenn M
San Francisco, CA960 contributions
Jan 2021
The Barker Dam Trail is one of the most popular in the Park, so arriving early is a good bet to get the most enjoyment during your hike. Depending on the season and the yearly rainfall, you may not see any water at the dam. That was the occasion on this visit, but it was still a wonderful hike with an abundance of birds and plants as well as some great rock formations. You'll also have the opportunity to view some petroglyphs along the trail.
Written January 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ryan & Katy Smilko
San Jose, CA240 contributions
Aug 2020 • Couples
Barker Dam is about a 1.3mi / 2.09 km hike, and relatively easy. We weren’t especially impressed, but if you’re looking for an easy hike, this will suffice. One thing to note and call out about this hike though, that was cool, was that there are petroglyphs which were painted on rock by Native Americans a long long time ago.
Written December 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

sjansenavon
Sonoma, CA369 contributions
May 2021 • Couples
Relatively short and easy hike. The highlight is the petroglyphs found in one small area. NO WATER AVAILABLE. Restrooms are near trailhead by the parking lot. Watch out for bees near the restrooms.
Written May 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

joaniemaria
Eldridge, IA2,168 contributions
Feb 2022 • Family
We hiked on a Sunday. This trail is busy. We had to wait to park because it was full. It is worth waiting for. There are rock formations, a dam, petroglyphs, Joshua Trees galore. It is fairly flat, easy trail and about 1-2 miles. We saw all ages on this trail. It is a must in Joshua Tree National Park.
Written March 13, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

NYTravelerBD
Westchester County, NY1,147 contributions
Feb 2020
The Barker Dam is bone dry, which was a huge disappointment to my family and our 6 year old daughter. We chose this hike over the Hidden Valley hike in the hopes of seeing animals drinking from the water, but there was absolutely no water and no animals whatsoever. The petroglyphs were well worth seeing, however, and all of Joshua Tree is beautiful. But check with the visitor center about water levels before embarking on this dam hike.
Written February 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Daniel
San Francisco, CA44 contributions
Aug 2021
Easy hike, I did it with a 20-pound baby strapped to me. Didn't see much wildlife on this one, and the dam itself was disappointing. The trail itself wasn't bad, but with limited time I probably would choose a different hike.
Written August 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

HeardItBothWays
Easton, PA2,159 contributions
Oct 2020
My husband and I hiked the Barker Dam Trail during our visit to Joshua Tree National Park. It was an easy hike with some interesting views of the trees, rocks, and Barker Dam. It was moderately trafficked but we were able to socially distance with some patience. It's a great, relaxing hike but bring plenty of water to stay hydrated in the desert sun.
Written November 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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