One of the highest peaks in the beautiful Joshua Tree National Park is Ryan Mountain. It’s vast diversity of foliage and desert shrubs align this moderately challenging hiking trail on Ryan Mountain. The opportunity for stunning views and exploring the surrounding desert nature is what lured me to this hiking adventure recently. Read further for my hiking guide to Ryan Mountain in Joshua Tree NP.
Ryan Ranch History
If you are like me, I am always up for another new hiking adventure. Before I take you on my trail journey here, let’s review a little bit more about Ryan Mountain and its history. The historic ruins of the Ryan house still remain on the trail to Ryan Ranch. J.D. Ryan was a wealthy rancher from Montana who supplied water to Lost Horse Mine (Gold Mine), which was the most profitable mine in the area.
The ruins are the remains of a 6-bedroom adobe built house built in 1896 and a fire destroyed it in August of 1978. According to sourcing on Wikipedia.com, there is a small cemetery nearby with 6 graves.
Ryan Mountain Trails
Ryan Ranch Trail
We enjoyed this short easy 1.5-mile round trip path that leads you out to the Ryan ruins. On the way, you see massive boulders and rock formations, wildflowers, and cactus galore. There are also a few abandoned old modern structures, and miscellaneous rusted machinery left in the area. There is also an interesting large rock formation a very short distance off the trail that is a perfect hideaway for small critters and animals looking for shade.
The trail is a flat narrow dirt path and is about ½ mile east of Ryan Campground. You will find two restroom structures at the trailhead here.
Another perfect day in the desert and sets the tone for our road trip to Joshua Tree National Park and attempt to climb and explore Ryan Mountain. This 3-mile round trip-hiking trail is not very long but a portion of it is strenuous.
Parts of the trail are very rocky so you need to watch your step. My foot slipped off a small rock and I twisted my ankle ending up later that evening with a slightly swollen foot. The scenery is quite lovely as you make your way to the summit at 5,456 feet in Joshua Tree National Park.
The ascension climb is about 1,050 feet at 1.5 miles so do not take this hiking trail lightly.
I very much enjoy seeing all the color variations of rocks and cliff sides together with so many wild flowers and abundant desert flora.
After a full afternoon of exploring through Joshua Tree, and climbing Ryan Mountain, we deserve to treat ourselves at some delicious dining. One of our favorite Mexican Restaurants in the Palm Springs area is Maracas Cantina.
There are two locations with one located in Palm Springs and the other located in Rancho Mirage. They offer live music, free chips and salsa, and have the best food quality of any restaurant we’ve eaten at in California. We especially indulge our taste buds in the complimentary pico de gallo and corn cake with entrees. It is absolutely mouth watering. If you ever visit Palm Springs area, this place is a must! You won’t be disappointed.
Ask anyone from southern California, spending time in the desert is a remarkable experience. It is very therapeutic and soul replenishing.
Joshua Tree National Park is one of those places with all of its serene desert landscape and unique beauty; it is the perfect place for exploring first time hiking trails and seeing historical western ranches and mines. Ryan Mountain has a challenging incline but also offers the rewarding scenic views to enjoy for all the hard work you do climbing to the top.
I highly recommend this hiking trail on your next visit to Joshua Tree National Park.