Ryan Ranch Trail is a very short hike to an old ruin in Joshua Tree National Park. The trail runs just a half-mile each way to the ruin (1.0 mile roundtrip). It is perfectly flat and well-marked. This trail would be considered easy for anyone, though wheels would be a bit tough in the soft sand.
History of Ryan Ranch
Ryan Ranch was the home of JD Ryan, who operated the Lost Horse Mine in the late 1800’s. The property originally boasted a main house, a bunkhouse for visitors or ranch hands, and another small building that may have been an icehouse. There was even a small graveyard with a few headstones. Over the years, vandals destroyed most of the structures, and the rest were burned. Only a bit of the adobe walls and the rock corral remain. Still, this is an interesting hike in Joshua Tree National Park.
Ryan Ranch Trail
There is limited parking at the Ryan Ranch Trailhead. Even on a busy day, we found a spot easily as the parking places turn over quickly. We actually enjoyed the walk a lot more than the destination on this one. The trail runs straight through the plentiful Joshua trees. There are amazing rock formations, including one massive tongue of rock we dubbed “Pride Rock” from the Lion King. We saw a rabbit and a squirrel on this trail, as well as some birds, which was more wildlife than we saw in the rest of the park.
Ryan Ranch itself isn’t an amazing destination. There are a few ruins including the ranch house, which seems to have had a bit of reconstruction done, and a few water basins and sheds. We enjoyed exploring around the old ranch ruins, but this isn’t our favorite hike in the park. We did like that the Ryan Ranch trail in Joshua Tree wasn’t busy. There were only a few other people on this trail the entire time we were there. Check our out list of Family-friendly trails in Joshua Tree National Park for other great hikes.