Split Rock Trail in Joshua Tree National Park is a 2.0 mile loop. If you’d like to hike the loop, arrive at a low-traffic time such as early morning or in the evening as the parking lot often fills up. We visited on a holiday, and there was a park ranger directing people away from this area because the lot was full. We returned the next afternoon on a weekday and the parking lot was very busy, but we were able to find a spot.
If you do find a parking spot, you can see Split Rock with minimal effort. There weren’t really any signs pointing out the rock, but it is obvious when you notice it. To find Split Rock, walk to the trailhead. There is a rock with a huge split! We also suggest walking around to the backside of this rock. There is a cool alcove that provides shade.
If you’d like to see another Split Rock without hiking the entire loop, follow the trail for about 50-100 more meters looking constantly to your right. There is a towering rock off the trail which has a split right down the middle. A narrow ribbon of sky is visible between the deep cut in this second Split Rock.
The Split Rock area has picnic tables and is also a fun place for kids to climb the rocks by the parking area. Our boys enjoyed Joshua Tree National Park so much because of all the rock scrambling they got to do.
The Split Rock Trail
The Split Rock Trail in Joshua Tree continues around Split Rock and onto a counter-clockwise loop trail. The trail starts off dropping gently before turning and climbing back up through a gap in the rocks. There are varying terrains including massive boulders that could almost be considered mountains, to rubble piles broken up into hardscrabble. The trail itself walks through sand, over rocks, climbs stairs, and passes over the slick rock. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore, and the Joshua trees are abundant. Most of the hikes that we did in Joshua Tree were flat, but this one definitely had ups and downs making it slightly more challenging for young kids, but not difficult.
This was actually the longest hike that we did in Joshua Tree National Park. It is only 2.0 miles around the loop, but there is plenty to see. There is a short spur trail to walk over to Face Rock that adds another half mile. We didn’t take the spur trail as we were running out of time, but if you want to add that to your list, check out details here. The Split Rock Trail in Joshua Tree would have easily made our favorite list if it hadn’t been for the high traffic volume in and around Split Rock. For other family-friendly hikes in Joshua Tree, check out our kid hikes list.