Saturday, April 20, 2013

Hike 2013.019 -- Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park

Hiked Saturday, April 6. Yep, I'm again two weeks behind in my blogging. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), I didn't get any hikes in since last week, so I'm not falling any further behind, but I sure would like to go hiking, again!

Ryan Mountain is roughly equidistant from either the North or West Entrance. Both entrances are access from US 62. The West Entrance hits US 62 in the town of Joshua Tree, while the North Entrance hits US 62 in the town of 29 Palms. From the West Entrance, follow Park Blvd south out of town, enter the park (paying a $15 entry fee, or showing your America the Beautiful Pass), and stay on the road you're on, avoiding all turns. About a mile after passing Ryan Campground, the parking area for the Ryan Mountain trail will be on your right. There's a pit toilet there.

Ryan Mountain itself is not visible from the trailhead. Your trail takes you almost due south, up into the hills. Looking back, you'll see the parking lot for quite some distance.

Finally, the trail bears to the west, and you'll see some dramatic rocks. They make Ryan Mountain an easy place to spot from other high points to the west (including the Lost Horse Mine loop).

In several spots, dark igneous rocks stand in your foreground, with cinder cones in the distance. One to the east (which you don't see until you cross over to the east side of Ryan Mountain, a mile or so into the hike) looks an awful lot like Amboy Crater, but minus the crater.

Great views in all directions from the top. Mount San Jacinto, on the other side of the Salton Sink, is easy if the sky is moderately clear.

It's listed as a three mile roundtrip, though it may be a bit less. Steep in parts, and definitely dry. If you're hiking when the weather is even moderately warm, be sure to bring something to drink.

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