Hall of Horrors | Joshua Tree

There is an awesome hidden hike in Joshua Tree National Park. The Hall of Horrors area is well-known and there is a parking lot for this area, but it can be difficult to find the hysterically named Hall of Horrors slot canyons. You do not want to miss these slot canyons. The Hall of Horrors in Joshua Tree was one of our favorite places to explore.

The Hall of Horrors in Joshua Tree is marked on park maps, and the signage for the parking lot is pretty obvious. Still, we found a lot of people in this area that didn’t really know what they were looking for or where to find it. Not only that, the instructions we found on the Internet were poor at best. Luckily, we found a fool-proof way to get you into the Hall of Horrors slot canyons.

Hall of Horrors Joshua Tree

How to find Hall of Horrors Slot Canyons

From the parking lot, head north along the trail. After just about 50 meters, there is a very obvious split. You have the option to go left or right around a massive ridge of rock. Though it is slightly longer, it is much easier to find the slots if you go left. This trail winds around the west end of the ridge of rock. Though there are some ghost trails made by wanderers, the trail is easy to follow as it comes around the point.

This is the trail from the parking lot. Head left around the large area of rocks.
The trail wanders around the rocks.

As you come around the west end, two brown signs come into view that mark the trail. There is also a second large ridge of rock. If you walk directly to the second sign, you will be looking into the two narrow slots known as the Hall of Horrors.

After you circle the first group of boulders, watch for this sign on the trail.
When you see the second sign, look to the right for the slots are in the boulders.
As you walk toward the second set of boulders, the slots are near the end directly in front of you.

First Slot

Some scrambling is required to enter the slots, and there were rock climbers belaying right at the entrance. We entered the right slot first. This area narrows down to a ribbon trail about 3 feet wide. After only about 50 meters, this trail ends. You could climb up and out, but it would be a little bit dangerous. So enjoy this slot and then turn around and go back to the beginning. Take an immediate right turn into the left slot canyon.

Climb up the rocks to access the slot canyons.
The right canyon has a little bit of a drop.
I had to slide down this rock and then jump a little to get to the bottom.
The right slot canyon is pretty narrow.
It is short, but fun to walk through the Hall of Horrors.
We love slot canyons.

Second Slot

The left crack in the Hall of Horrors is much more narrow. Dad barely made it through this one, which required every ounce of sucking in. This slit runs about the same distance, though it isn’t that narrow the entire way. You can also climb up and out of the far end, though scrambling down the other side requires some route finding. We also turned around and headed back the way we came.

The second slot in Hall of Horrors Joshua Tree is easier to access.
And it is much narrower!
It is so fun to squeeze through.
You can see how tight it is!
At the end of the slot, you come to a bunch of rocks.
You get a great overlook of the area. Then go back the way you came.

The entire area around the Hall of Horrors in Joshua Tree is open to explore. We found dozens of people wandering, climbing, scaling, and perching on the rocks to enjoy the afternoon. Not all of them found the Hall of Horrors slot canyons, though, even though quite a few were looking.

Heading out of the left slot canyons back to the start.

After you’ve traversed the slots, you can spend as much time as you want exploring. You can venture back the way you came, but we found it easier to walk around the east end of the fins. It’s a bit shorter, particularly if you scramble down the far side. Just be careful and wear good shoes!

For other great hikes in Joshua Tree, visit our post of Kid Hikes in Joshua Tree post.

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