Directions: $15 Entrance fee for Joshua Tree (good for 7 days). Take Hwy 62 to Park Boulevard. Follow for approx. 12 miles until you reach Hidden Valley Campground/Barker Dam Rd. Turn left and bear right after the entrance. Follow the paved Rd for 1.6 miles. Turn into the parking area.
Distance: 2 miles roundtrip
Ease: Out and back. Easy because of very little elevation but loose sand makes it longer and a bit more difficult.
Bring/Wear: A ton of WATER (I brought 100 liters in my CAMELBACK), SUNSCREEN (THERE IS NO SHADE AT JOSHUA TREE), A HAT, comfortable clothes that will keep you cool in the heat (or warm in the WINTER), hiking boots are best and ALWAYS pack your emergency gear even if it’s a short hike.
The Adventure: We decided to swing by Barkers Dam after doing that Mini Ryan’s Ranch hike. Parking in the lot, I notice there was another Trailhead there as well. Seeing that it was to a MILL (yay! destination hike!), we decided to do this hike and then do the Barker’s Dam Hike (it’s more like a walk then a hike) when we were done. Off we go…
So…we’re walking in the SAHARA DESERT type SAND (huff-puff) and I’m talking about how I know there are old cars from the 30’s abandoned out and how I’m dying to see one. Somehow, we strayed off the path and Robbie spots something in the distance. Thinking it might be part of the Mill, we scurry up this little hill and what do you think we find?!?!
So now we’re off the correct path and have to cut across some desert. I’m either really BRAVE or really STUPID because I walked through the brush like rattlesnakes are actually a MYTH instead of a FACT (I don’t know what gets into my head at times). Robbie followed behind me, trying to keeping an eye out for things that bite. We find the sign with the arrow pointing the way to the Mill and away we go…
15 minutes later…we find THIS
and then BEHOLD! The MILL…
Some FACTS: The Wall Street Mill (built 1891) was once owned by Bill Keys who bought it in 1930 from F.Morgan. Keyes owned the Mill untill 1966. The Mill was used basically for other miners to come bring their claims in and have the gold crushed into ore. Wall Street Mill was originally in the Pinyon Well portion of the park and then moved to its current location in 1933.
ANYWAY- look at what was inside…
More Buried Treasures in the Sand!
Observation: While I was at this site, I was thinking to myself- “In 1966, I bet they just ate ‘Shrooms and got basically NOTHING done here…” Just sayin’.
On the way back to the parking lot, we AGAIN took the wrong path and had to backtrack through the deep sand. Le sigh…tired! Our 2 mile, out and back ended up being – like – 3 miles because of our directional mistakes. Live and learn…
The WRAP UP: I had a GREAT TIME on this hike! The exercise was outstanding, the scenery and the weather- Amazing! After we discover some other hikes at Joshua Tree, I’d like to do this one again!