Needing a shorter hike after a long day before, we picked to hike to Mastodon Peak and then free hike out to some rock formations and explore. Our hike was 5 miles of exploration.
We started hiking from the Cottonwood Springs Trailhead and went clockwise up the wash to the trail leading to Mastodon Mine. The hiking is pretty easy and gets more interesting when you start to see all the rock formations. We passed by Mastodon Mine which is one of 300 mines within present day Joshua Tree National Park. Nobody ever got rich off this mine as faulting severed the main vein in the late 1930’s and it could not be relocated.
After climbing the steps and hiking past the mine, we came to the junction to go to Mastadon Peak and turned left to get up to the top. Oh what a view! In this short section we had to use all 4 limbs to climb the boulders to the summit. We took some pictures, enjoyed the sweeping views, and climbed back down.
From here we continued on the main loop until we reached the junction with the Palm Oasis Trail and turned left. After about a mile we freehiked up a wash to check out a balancing rock we had seen from the trail. To get back we headed across the rocky rolling hills to another wash and kept picking our way across the desert to the start. It’s nice to get off the beaten path.