Barker Dam Trail – Joshua Tree NP

May 24, 2015 at 8:05 am (California, Mojave Desert, National Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Photography) (, )

Barker Dam Trail

Barker Dam Trail

A very nice short hike in the Hidden Valley area of Joshua Tree National Park is the Barker Dam trail.  There are a few climbing and bouldering routes past the dam, and except for a little scooting around rocks, it is an easy trail.


Because I am a dilly-dallier, I spent around four hours on this two-mile trip.  After all, there were flowers, birds, and pretty landscapes.


The birds are seen in my previous post, Birds of Joshua Tree.  I was at the dam probably an hour just watching the avian dinosaurs stop by – green-tailed towhee, Lazuli bunting, hummingbirds, finches.


Even though I started out early, there was a little glitch that marred the experience.   Sound carries far in places like this, and there was a small but very loud family in the parking lot about 300 yards away shortly after I began the hike.  So I stepped up my explorations in an attempt to keep my distance.



I didn’t want them to scare off the birds and wildlife I hoped to see.  Unfortunately, I heard them the whole way.


When they arrived at the dam, I put on my “interpretive opportunity” ranger hat and explained that for some of us, being in a place like this is like being in church, and the silence allows us to hear the birds and see wildlife, like the bighorn sheep I hoped to see.


It seemed to make an impression, but when they turned around to leave the squeals and loud yakking continued.  Sigh.  Some people really don’t get nature.



There were many wildflowers still blooming in the park, and I take great delight in finding a “new” species.  Stay tuned for a future post on the flowers I met at Joshua Tree.







Manzanita is in the madrona family, as you can see by the red, peeling bark.

Ruined petroglyphs

Ruined petroglyphs

Unfortunately, somebody who was ignorant to the value of rock art thought they were doing us a favor by painting over the ancient petroglyphs.  This is both a sacrilege and illegal.


Petroglyphs are pecked into rock; pictographs are painted on.  This ignorant person ruined the experience for all of us.


Other than those two black marks on the experience, the morning was a lovely one.  And I added another image to my collection of heart rocks.


Feel free to reblog or share

Images taken with Canon SX-50


Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

These images available here

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Contact:  cindy at




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