Old Dale Road

Twentynine Palms, California (San Bernardino County)

Last Updated: 05/08/2019
4.8 / 5 ( 12 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 25.9 miles
Highest Elevation: 2446 feet
Duration: About 3 hours
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: North
Nearest Town: Twentynine Palms
Nearest Town w/ Services: Twentynine Palms
Official Road Name: Old Dale Road
Management Agency: National Park Service/Bureau of Land Management
District: Joshua Tree National Park/Barstow Office
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Old Dale Road
Old Dale Road is a historic route that served as the central corridor for the Old Dale Mining District in what is now the northeast corner of Joshua Tree National Park. Numerous side trails branch off from Old Dale Road and lead to the remains of old mining sites and ruins to explore. The road is also a fun and challenging off-road trail, with steep climbs into the Pinto Mountains on a narrow, rocky path. Old Dale is a popular destination for overlanders. You can easily plan a multi-day trip traveling Old Dale and its connecting trails, exploring the remains of mining operations, and enjoying the rich geography of the area. This area also makes a great day trip from Joshua Tree National Park — just get an early start as the trail is long and there's much to see. Old Dale Road traverses the two great deserts of Southern California, which meet within the boundaries of Joshua Tree National Park. The trail begins in the Sonoran Desert, which is the hotter and drier ecosystem and features vegetation consisting mostly of cholla cacti, ocotillos, and ironwood trees. As you travel north on Old Dale Road you’ll notice the landscape change to yucca, creosote, and the famous Joshua trees, marking the transition to the Mojave Desert.

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Weather

7 day forecast for Old Dale Road

Route Information

Technical Rating:
( MODERATE )

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Waypoints

1. Old Dale Road Trailhead (0 mi)
The trailhead is a turn-off from Pinto Basin Road with a flat area and plenty of space to air down your tires and prepare for the journey. The trailhead is a "Y" with the right (northeast) split going to Black Eagle Road and the left (northwest) split going to Old Dale Road.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 33.828145, -115.758980

Starting Point: Palm Springs

From Palm Springs, take I-10 East for approximately 75 miles. Take Exit 168 and turn left on Cotton Springs Road. Continue on Cotton Springs Road, entering Joshua Tree National Park, and proceed for approximately 7 miles where it becomes Pinto Basin Road. Continue on Pinto Basin Road for approximately 6 miles. The trailhead for Old Dale Road will be on your right.

Camping

Dispersed
Designated

Trail Reviews (18)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Cool trail nothing crazy here but fun as long as its cool outside or you have good ac lots of mines and trail offshoots to explore great for the family

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Night wheeled this in my 2nd Gen 4Runner. Running 31s with Bilsteins on all 4 corners. Road in was like those things designed to wake you up if you veer off the road!? Vibrates a ton. Maybe it's my ol Yota? Airing down helps. Anyway, was tons of fun! Camped overnight in RTT. Saw a few others out there as well.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Did it again... I did want to add that the part of the road over the mountains has deteriorated some since I started doing this trail a few years ago and is getting, well... even more fun.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great trip with tons of history to be explored. We reversed this track and went north to south.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Ran Berdoo to Geology to Old Dale, hitting Mission and Brooklyn mines along the way, and finished through Mecca Dale Road and Gold Crown Road which ended right at the 62. Fun loop that provides plenty of miles with fun obstacles and sites, to fill most of a day. is mostly a rocky floor/wash that winds through the canyon with occasional tight squeezes between massive boulders, a few waterfalls (one is optional and has a large legal bypass area to the right, little offshoots, shooting and camping, and a spectacular journey. Geology is an extremely easy packed dirt road with rare, deep ruts to play between. This ends at busy soft pavement (don’t need to air up) that winds through the junction where the Borrego and Colorado join, giving rise to a unique battle of the two drastically different ecology. Old Dale is slightly difficult than Berdoo as it climbs up and around a series of old mines on a shelf road laden with decent sized rocks to give you just enough off camber moments to get the blood flowing, but nothing severe enough that we ever thought we were in a sketchy situation. In all, these offer a great opportunity to test the flex, stretch the old 4lo, and crawl a few big rocks relative in size to Gold Mountain, but on mostly flat ground, which taking in the always uniqueness of the deserts

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
We did this trail from the south to the flag building in a Stock 2020 Rav4 TRD. We had to turn back at that point Because we ran out of ground clearance.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Fun trail. Nice stops of different abandoned mines. Took about 3 hours doing it South to North the flag building was cool. Did the entire trail in 4-high in a Jeep Rubicon 4-door with a suspension lift on 37” tires and had no issues at all. The section after the flag building was rocky and low slung vehicles could get hung up. We want to come back and do some of the off shoot trails.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Ran this trail from Joshua Tree National park area to HWY 62 (South end to North end) in a Nissan Frontier on 285’s and a 2” leveling kit (and blown out stock suspension, lol). Great technical trail and a lot of fun! Did not have any issues. Just took it slow and was careful of wheel placement. I didn’t need rear lockers on and was on 4 high the whole way. Once you get into BLM area, there are tons of camping spots. Took about 2 hours with 4 other vehicles.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
We took various vehicles with varying driver skill up this road. We had a stock Jeep Gladiator, 2-inch lifted Subaru Outbacks, Isuzu Rodeo, Nissan Xterra, new Honda Passports, a Honda Ridgeline, 1st gen Ford explorer and a Mercedez Benz ML 163. We all made it up, but ofcourse some easier than others. Stock body on frame 4wd's should be able to make it up with no issues, but crossover's and any unibody SUV's will be challenged quite a bit more. This is my 3rd time up this trail, and it seems more eroded than in the past.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I did this trail from the south and found that despite having origins in JT National Park it has a remote quality to it. The difficulty of the trail is mostly confined to the part that transverses the mountains and there were a few spots the earned the trail the rating it has. Careful line picking rendered these obstacles completely doable, but a high clearance vehicle is mandatory in my opinion. For me the best part was the Brooklyn Mine branch trail. It certainly made the day worth it. I would say that the BM trail is a bit more difficult only because it has considerably more obstacles in a shorter distance. I gave this trail five stars for it's remoteness, extensive features of mines to explore, all the off-roading potential on the north side of the mountains and the Brooklyn Mine. I did this in a day and felt like two or even three days would have afforded me the time to truly appreciate this trail.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Did this Trail In the night to find a camping spot as Joshua Tree was a circus and packed. Old Dale Road is super washed out starting from Joshua Tree and doesn’t stop for a good miles in. The route gets hard before leaving Joshua Tree and reaching North Start Mine where there are some huge ruts. Pick good lines and you will be fine. Camped at North a star Mine and was in for a windy night. The rest of the route was easy stuff, Drive a JL Sahara on 33s no lift. Best of Luck

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I started from the South and camped out off of the Brooklyn Jeep Trail before heading up the Pinto Mnt the next day. Such a fantastic trail with beautiful views. The only technical part is between 11 and 15 miles in when going over the mountain. I loved the trip and would recommend it for anyone with a few inches of clearance and 4L would help.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Started from the north...pretty long, fun trail with a ton of side trails and overall in good condition(washboard roads in the beginning are a little rough) and pretty sandy in some spots. I have a 2wd 2015 4Runner on 33 at’s and it’s completely doable. You just have to be careful with line choice at a few spots...hit my skids 3 times but only scrapes. Definitely recommend a lift. There are plentiful camp scenic areas to camp and I would recommend staying out more than a day to explore.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
We started from the south side. Beginning was just a wash road. Only technicalities come in middle of trail when on mountain. Definitely clearance and 4L. But pretty smooth after that. We did run into a vehicle stock height and not a good day for him. Plan in doing it again with more time.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
As a person new to off roading I went on this trail with a friend (he drivers a 2017 Tacoma TRD PRO and is basically stock, just upgraded skid plates, sliders and BFG K02 tires) I am driving my 2016 VW Touareg with Bilsteins and customs threaded spring plates. raised 2.5", 265/65/18 BFG K02 tires and custom sliders and full under body skid plates). I would rate this a moderate trail. You do need good tire placement on a few sections and I would recommend at least 10-11" ground clearance. Had a blast and did Burns canyon the next day and that was much easier.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
South to north. First 11 miles was sandy wash, moderate washboards otherwise in good shape. From there, up and over the hill, the road was rough and washed out, but the WK Trailhawk in rock mode (high clearance, 4-low, diff locked and xfer locked, Kevlar belted tires) had no problems. Barely touched the skid plates. Sand was soft below Virginia Dale mine but made it through with out airing down. Exactly 3 hours drive time, but we were in no hurry. Beautiful weather, lots of desert flowers, lovely day.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
I entered from the 29 palms side, there are a zillion off shoots you can explore on that side, some go to mines. Road conditions: 29 palms side was 2/10, the mountain portion was a 4/10, Joshua tree park side was 1/10. Off-road tires a must, and most likely some lift as well are required. I would not take a stock vehicle over the mountain.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Drive to the base of the climb is in good condition. The rest is extermly washed out. Many spots where the washout was overwhelmingly difficult to manuvear. A good ride if your looking for a challenge and not so kuch the scenery.

Questions & Answers (2)

Q: I have a Ram 1500 4x4 with the Off Road Package is my rig too big for this trail?
–Don Lee (12/17/2020)
–Christopher Catren (12/28/2020)
Q: Coming from Yucca and the 62, what are the directions to the northern end of the trail?
–Megan Roberson (01/27/2019)
–Brent Colasurdo (01/27/2019)

Writer Information

Brent Colasurdo

Mapping Crew - California

Brent's passion for outdoor adventures began with backpacking and mountain climbing while growing up in Portland, Oregon. Eventually, he realized that it was easier to drive the trails than walk them, and Brent's love of off-roading was born. Brent is now an (adopted) native of California. He can be found sullying the leather upholstery of his 2013 Range Rover Sport throughout the deserts and mountains of Southern California.
For individual use only, not to be shared.