Old Dale Road

Old Dale Road is an old mining road in Joshua Tree NP

Old Dale Road is a scenic drive located in the Joshua Tree National Park, in the US state of California. This old mining road traverses the eastern portion of the park from north to south. It’s one of the famous backcountry roads in the Joshua Tree National Park.

How long is Old Dale Road?

Tucked away in Riverside County, in the southern portion of California, this iconic trail in the mountains of Joshua Tree NP, is totally unpaved. It’s 41.68km (25.9 miles) long, running through a variety of mines that were built and worked as early as the 1880’s and as late as 1990’s. The trail starts in Joshua Tree National Park, passes through the Pinto Basin and out of the park into the Pinto Mountains, where it becomes Gold Crown Road. The route ends at California Route 62, 15 miles east of the small desert town of Twentynine Palms.

Is Old Dale Road challenging?

The dirt road snaking through the valley is pretty challenging with a lot of sharp rocks and deep sand. About two thirds of the road is well graded dirt and the usual washboard. Only the portion across the mountain range can be tricky in several spots. The road, composed of large, loose, and sometimes sharp rock with steep drop-offs, is not maintained. 4x4 vehicles with high clearance only. Remember it’s a remote area with no cell reception and limited traffic. Bring a GPS; it is easy to get lost. Two cars would be safer than one if any problems come up.

How long does it take to drive Old Dale Road?

Plan 1.5 to 2 hours to complete the drive without any stop. The road is open year round, however, best October through May. The weather on this zone is harsh. Not recommended for summer trips. If you take this trip it's best not to do it in the summer as it gets very hot as the road traverses the two deserts that make up Joshua Tree National Park: the Colorado and the Mojave.

Pic: By Daniel Mayer (mav) [CC BY-SA 3.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons