Hiking to Barker Dam

September 11, 2017

Barker Dam Trail in the morning

We woke up at 5AM and drove from Sheep Pass to catch the sunrise at Barker Dam Trail, which had a small foreign-looking reservoir within the Wonderland of Rocks in Joshua Tree National Park.

We arrived when the sun was already above the horizon but it was still a bit dark and nobody else was there. We hiked about half a mile into the dam but unfortunately, the water was all dried up in the Summer 🙁

The scene was surreal at this time though with dramatic cloud on the horizon and the sunlight glowed on the rocks.

Barker Dam

Barker Dam

Turn left and follow the shoreline toward the dam itself. Barker Dam was build over a century ago by ranchers eager to save up some of the desert’s most vital resource, water. The trail turns west, leaves the lake and enters a flat piece of desert that is home to several tall Joshua trees. Follow the sandy track as it loops back toward the start. A marked turnoff visits a rock covered in vivid petroglyphs. These Native America drawings had their colors enhanced by a film crew working on an old Hollywood movie, which explains why they look too colorful to be real. Beyond the petroglyphs, continue along the trail. When it comes to a T, make a right to return to the parking lot. This 1.5-hike only has 50 feet of elevation change, making it a suitable excursion for anyone visiting Joshua Tree National Park.


We walked around and climbed a few rocks to gain a better perspective but we couldn’t find a good spot to take pictures of the immersive scene so we decided to head back before the sun rose to high to avoid the scorching heat.


  • Bring plenty of water
  • You might get lost so stay on the trail
  • Be careful of the heat here, especially in the Summer as it could easily reach 100F

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