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ragman and rodman
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PostMon Dec 31, 2018 8:42 am 
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What better place to end the year than in Valhalla!

Over the last 4 years I've done 45 hikes in Joshua Tree National Park... and Valhalla Dome is on my "Top 5" list in the park.

Our loop hike started at the very popular Barker Dam Trailhead... where a quarter-mile hike brought us to Barker Lake... and while most hikers follow the main trail along the west side of the lake on over to the dam, we followed a path that took us around the east side of the lake... where we began a fairly easy scramble that took us up to Valhalla Dome.

Christmas to New Years is the most popular time of the year for visits to the park... and while the park was overflowing with people, we were the only ones on Valhalla Dome... and to avoid the crowds on our return to the car we opted to exit the dome via the Wonderland of Rocks, which is another area in the park that thins a crowd very quickly.

Our loop hike was 2.6 miles, gaining 500 feet of elevation.

Photos, trailhead directions and downloadable GPS track of our trip to Valhalla Dome.

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"Teanaway 70" Peaks List... a guide to hiking and scrambling in the Teanaway Area.
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Sculpin
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PostMon Dec 31, 2018 9:14 am 
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Did you have beta on looping out through the Wonderland of Rocks?

The backcountry of Joshua Tree can be unbelievably rough, like nothing I have seen elsewhere.  There are places back in there just as scenic as the Barker Dam area but ridiculously difficult to reach, some with palm groves that no one ever visits.  So far, I have only looked wistfully at them on mapping software satellite images, but someday...

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Even my best friends, they don't know, that my job is turning lead into gold. When you hear that engine drone, I'm on the road again, and I'm searching for the philosopher's stone - Van Morrison
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ragman and rodman
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PostWed Jan 02, 2019 5:32 pm 
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Sculpin wrote:
Did you have beta on looping out through the Wonderland of Rocks?

Before we visited JTNP in 2015 I purchased "Joshua Tree National Park: The Insider's Guide" which was written by Robert Miramontes.  The book made a brief mention of "Wonderland of Rocks" and we did two hikes via the southern entrance to the wonderland... one hike with BarbE and her husband tomman... and a second hike with Snowdog and her husband robman.  These two hikes entailed hiking a fairly short distance to take a closer look at the two Astro Domes and then scrambling around on some of the rock formations.

In 2017 Denali Girl and I explored deeper into the southern end of the wonderland by hiking to Garret's Arch, passing by the Red Obelisk and Freak Brothers Dome along the way... and on another 2017 hike I soloed Valhalla Dome which was also mentioned in the Miramontes book... and realized that I could loop out via the wonderland if I could make good scrambling choices from the top of the dome.

In March 2018 I took Denali Girl, BarbE and Snowdog to Valhalla Dome by going in via the wonderland's southern entrance because the Barker Dam Trail was closed for maintenance... and when we were leaving the dome we met a woman who showed us another exit via the wonderland.

So... a combination of exploring the southern entrance to the wonderland, the book and meeting the lady a couple hundered feet below the top of the dome, we got the necessary beta for the area.

A couple thoughts on exploring the Wonderland of Rocks:

1.  Don't explore this area by yourself... this is an area where things can go badly very quickly... trust me on this... I speak from experience.

2.  The southern entrance to the wonderland is by far the easiest entrance... find the small dirt parking lot a quarter-mile NE of the huge, paved parking lot for the Barker Dam Loop hike.

3.  The northern entrance to the wonderland starts out of Indian Cove... an area where the scrambling goes from Class 2/3 to Class 3/4 very quickly... in January, 2017 I did a one-mile loop scramble here which took me 2.5 hours... and I used up at least one (maybe two) of my nine lives on this scramble.

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"Teanaway 70" Peaks List... a guide to hiking and scrambling in the Teanaway Area.
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popzeus
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PostTue Apr 09, 2019 5:23 pm 
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I hiked this today with my Father-in-law. We (mostly) followed your GPS track. Lots of fun exploring. Iíve been coming to JTree once or twice a year for over a decade and this was one of the best hikes Iíve ever done there.
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