Thing to Do

Hike Arch Rock

A hiker walking along a barren trail with desert vegetation and small boulders.
Hiker on the Arch Rock Trail

NPS / Hannah Schwalbe

The Arch Rock Trailhead is in the Twin Tanks Parking Lot. The trail looks like a lollipop; the route heads in a straight line for .6-miles from the parking lot to the east, where it becomes a short loop. Hikers can take the loop in either direction, but hiking it counterclockwise is recommended because it is easier to spot the namesake arch from that direct. The loop is a short .2-miles and leads hikers back to the straightaway trail to the parking lot.

The arch is roughly .1-mile into the loop section and is a popular photography spot. The loop also has educational wayside signs along the trail describing the unique geology and characteristics in the area. The first part of the trail is mostly sandy, whereas the loop section is mostly rocky. 

This trail has no shade and no cell service. Summer hikers should start this trail before 10 am and bring plenty of water. Always check the weather forecast before heading into the park and consider changing plans if the weather conditions are too extreme. Hikers should always tell a safety buddy where they are going and when they plan on leaving the park. 

Pets are not allowed on trails or in the backcountry. Please help us protect our wildlife by walking pets on-leash in campgrounds or on dirt roads. 
Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information.
The trailhead is located at the Twin Tanks Parking Area and Backcountry Board. The Twin Tanks Parking Area is on the west side of Pinto Basin Road, 1 mile south of Belle Campground. The California Riding and Hiking Trail also intersects this parking area. 
The park can be dangerously hot. If hiking in the summer, get to the trailhead before 10 am and always let a safety buddy know where you are going and when you plan on leaving the park. There is no cell service and no running water. Always check the weather before heading into the park, and consider delaying your hike if the weather conditions are too extreme. 
This area is open at night, but navigation can be difficult after dark. Only experienced navigators and hikers should hike the Arch Rock Trail at night. Additionally, the trail goes past White Tank Campground, and hikers must respect quiet hours. Hikers in the area between 10 pm and 8 am should keep their volume low to not disrupt sleeping campers. 
Accessibility Information
The Arch Rock Trail contains various terrain types, including deep sand, hard pack dirt, and uneven rocky surfaces. The trail is relatively flat and has a 100 feet total elevation change. The trail widens to a 4 feet across in some areas but is as narrow as 1-2 feet in certain areas. A section of the trail on the loop that is very rocky. 

The trail is not accessible for people using wheelchairs. 

Pets and emotional support animals are not allowed on trails, but service animals are welcome. Service animals must remain on a 6-foot (1.8 meter) leash at all times.

Joshua Tree National Park

Last updated: July 13, 2021