Black Rock Canyon can be found in the northwest corner of Joshua Tree National Park. The road leading to the area ends at a campground. At the Visitor Center, situated in the campground's center, campers can register and pay camping fees. The staff here can assist visitors in planning a hike or other activity. Nature guides, books, maps, and activity books for children can also be bought at the Visitor Center. Located at the mouth of the canyon on a hillside, the campsites are surrounded by an array of desert shrubs, cholla cacti, junipers, and Joshua trees. In the springtime, late February brings blooming Joshua trees followed by annuals and shrubs through May.
The family campground is typically quiet and offers a good introduction to camping for those who have never done so before. Every campsite includes a fire ring and picnic table with water and restrooms nearby. A separate area for horse owners to camp or stage a ride is also provided at the campground. Wildlife viewing is possible from the Black Rock Canyon campground, with sighting being frequent. Cottontails, jackrabbits, and ground squirrels are often encountered by visitors. Bighorn sheep, mule deer, and desert tortoises, while more elusive, have also been spotted in the campground area. Cactus wrens, roadrunners, scrub-jays, great horned owls, and Gambel's quail are frequently seen by birders. If a birder is lucky, they may even spot a pinyon jay, LeConte's thrasher, or a Scott's oriole.
There are also many hiking trails that can be found behind the campground. Among those is the High-View Nature Trail, a scenic walk that's 1.3 miles in length. For hikers seeking longer trails, Warren Peak, Panorama Loop, and Eureka Peak travel to ridge lines that overlook the frequently snowy peaks of San Gorgonio and San Jacinto. Also found at Black Rock it the trailhead for a part of the California Riding and Hiking Trail. Backpackers wanting to do an overnight wilderness trip can register at the backcounty board. Photo: FotoMak/Fotolia
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