Over 2 Million visitors make their way through Joshua Tree National Park each year. Hidden in the northwest corner of the park is a oft-missed gem where the oldest grove of Joshua trees stands overlooking the Coachella Valley.

Accessing Covington Flats in Joshua Tree National Park requires a high ground-clearance overland vehicle. In the summer months a standard car might make it to the parking lot after the 7.5 mile off-road drive, but should always be prepared for soft sand. Bring spare water and emergency tools incase of a breakdown.

From Route 62 in Yucca Valley, CA take La Contenta Dr. South toward Joshua Tree. This is a backcountry entrance that does not have a gate, but still requires a park pass. 1 miles south the paved road becomes sand and dirt and 1.9 miles further hang left onto Covington Flat Rd. After 5.8 miles make a right turn onto Covington Crossover Rd. for 1.9 miles before taking a last left onto Upper Covington Flat Rd. Another two miles on the narrow road ends in the backcountry parking lot where two trailheads are.

On the south side of the lot is the Covington Crest Trail start,  marked with a little sign. Stay on the trail through the various washes as to avoid getting lost. There are plenty of opportunities to sneak off and photograph large Joshua Trees, with most of the bigger ones being to the east. After the forest there is an opening with few specimens before you walk through a younger grove mixed with Pinyon Pines, Chollo Cacti, and Mojave Yucca.

At the end of the trail is the ridge along the edge of the Coachella Valley that offers expansive views. Sitting here watching the sunset beyond the San Jacinto mountains is spectacular. Find times in the middle of Spring, and in late Fall to enjoy this hike in it's fullest splendor.

While sitting on any of the rock formations watching the sun drop is a perfect time to crack open a couple Momentous IPAs by Coachella Valley Brewing (brewed for Joshua Tree) and enjoy the moment. The hike and drive back is quick and well marked. Hangout and enjoy the lights twinkling below with good friends.

Pack List

  • TETON Sports Canyon 2100 pack
  • Columbia Hiking Shoes 
  • Long pants
  • Suunto Compass
  • Sony A6300 Camera
  • Native sunglasses
  • Momentous IPA
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RT Distance 4.2 Miles
Elevation Gain 200 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Running, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Autumn, Winter
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Adult Beverages
Family Friendly
Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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