Field Trip to Hole-in-the-Wall and Rings Loop Trail


NPS Staff

Climb metal rings bolted into the rock walls and explore the many "holes" of Hole-in-the-Wall

Contact: Christina (Chris) Mills
Phone: (760) 326-7051 or (760) 252-6123


Hole-in-the-Wall (HITW) is inconveniently located in the middle of nowhere, so lots of planning and a full day are required for a field trip to this location, but it's worth it! Once you leave the freeway, your students will travel through land little changed in more than a century, and where some modern residents still don't have access to electricity, flush toilets, the internet, or television. There is little traffic, so there are no crowds to be concerned about. Field trips begin at the HITW Visitor Center, where flush toilets and drinking water are available. Ideal group size is 25-30 students and adults, so we will split larger groups in two if staffing is available. A ratio of one adult to ten students, with one adult to six students preferred, is required; don't count the bus driver as one of the adults, because he/she may choose not to go on the walk.

The guided walk lasts between 1.5 - 2 hours, goes for about 1 mile, and includes information on Native Americans, local plants and animals, petroglyph viewing, a short play period in Banshee Canyon to explore the holes, and climbing the metal rings bolted into the canyon walls. The kids love climbing the rings, and often ask to do that part again! The guided walk ends when we reach the group picnic area. Field trips are free, but reservations must be made at least one month in advance to arrange scheduling.

Logistics and Planning

By school bus from Needles, California, allow 1.25 hours to travel 65 miles; by school bus from Barstow, California, allow 2 hours to travel 120 miles; and by school bus from the airport area, allow 2 hours to travel by paved and dirt road about 100 miles. All times and distances are one way. There are no gas stations or stores inside the park, so plan accordingly.

A typical field trip arrives at HITW between 9:30 - 10:00AM. The two groups take turns using the restrooms, and then start 15 minutes or so after each other. The walk takes about 1.5 hours, so the second group arrives at the picnic area around noon or soon after. The kids love climbing the rings, and often ask to do it again! After eating lunch, the buses usually need to depart between 12:30 - 1:00PM to get back in time to take students on normal school bus routes. If a bus is available without a time constraint, additional activities can be added to the day in the HITW area, such as a visit to nearby Mitchell Caverns in Providence Mountains State Recreation Area (may be re-opening this fall/winter on weekends) or other options.

The group may eat their sack lunches at the group picnic area, but the group leaders must provide trash bags and clean up after the students before leaving the area. If the adults permit this activity, the students may climb on the area rocks under close adult supervision. Climbing on the rocks is a hazardous activity, and careful consideration should be made as to whether this activity will be permitted after lunch by the group leaders; the NPS is not responsible for the group after the conclusion of the guided walk. There is a vault (non-flush) toilet at the picnic area for everyone to use before boarding the buses back to the school site.

Closed toed shoes, long pants, shirts that cover the shoulders, water hat, and sunscreen are required - no sandals, shorts/skirts, or tank tops permitted. No electronic devices are permitted to leave the bus except cameras, so all music players, electronic games, etc. must remain on the bus. All participants must have their hands free to climb the rings, so water bottles and cameras must fit in pockets or backpacks. Wildlife in the park is protected, so participants should be advised not to pick any flowers or disturb any animals while they are in the park.

Last updated: March 31, 2014

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

2701 Barstow Road
Barstow, CA 92311


(760) 252-6100

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