Coyote Hole Springs

One of my favorite hikes in Joshua Tree happens to be in a wash outside of Joshua Tree National Park. Discovered and named by George Washington’s nephew Henry, Coyote Hole Springs is a beautiful, small, and secluded hike with rich history and pristine desert scenery.

The beginning of the hike may seem a little off-putting. The trailhead is behind 2 gates and across someone’s long driveway. As long as you park on the road, there’s no issues and the gates are easily gone around, under, or over. You can ignore the no trespassing signs. However, do not ignore the “Who Passed This Way?” signs. Read them and ahere—don’t move or remove anything.

It’s a wash, so it’s soft sand with areas of packed dirt. I went today and the sand was packed, hard mud. Today, it was very much washed through. It obviously received some intense rains, the mud is flowed and canyoned from the running water. There are large rocks placed halfway through to keep trucks out. The gates used to be open and the trucks could easily go down, allowing for teenage parties which always included bonfires and littering.


Beginning of the hike. This shows the wash and the flow of the dirt.

Just passed these rocks you can see the Serrano petroglyphs. On the right there are some as well as on the left. They are pretty high up and some of them are very clearly drawings of people. This is my favorite part and is breathtaking to me.


Petroglyphs on the right side after the “Who Passed This Way?” sign.

At the end of the hike, there is a large canyon. The canyon leads you to the left and there is a rock formation which becomes a natural waterfall with enough rain. Beside that, to the left, is the hole the coyotes dig in order to catch the rainwater. Hence the name Coyote Hole Springs. The locals know it simply as Coyote Hole. It’s a beautiful place that can transform into a river in the desert, surrounded by ancient petroglyphs. The canyon is very much a doorway into the American past.


End of the hike. Straight ahead on the right is the waterfall, to the left is the coyote hole. It still had a bit of water in it today.