Joshua Tree is full of mines from a century of settlers looking to get rich. While Wall Street Mill is just one of the many, it is one of my favorites in the park. This gold ore crushing mill was one of the last remaining mills in the park, with operations up until the mid 1900’s. Accessed from the same parking lot as the incredibly popular Barker Dam Trail this is a great way to get in introduction into the California desert and its history.
- 2.2 miles round trip
- Relatively flat but no shade
While this hike is not on the map you get when entering the park, it is accessed from the same parking lot as Barker Dam and has a plaque and signs to guide you along the well maintained path. It is less popular than Barker Dam but provides a lot of great history without the crowds and is a must do hike in the park.
As you proceed along the trial you will be hugging the rocks for the first quarter-mile as you slog through the sand.
At .3 miles you will reach a small dirt parking lot that off-road vehicles can park at and that will make the hike shorter if you prefer that.
The trail proceeds away from the rocks and into the flat desert. Along the way you will pass many Joshua Trees which get you up and close with the park’s famous sight.
At the .4 mile marker you can veer off the trail to see one of the three old cars you will see on the hike. These are a lot of fun to photograph as they juxtapose a modern feel to the stark desert.
At .6 miles you will see an old windmill and the remains of what used to be a water pump and reservoir.
The trial then proceeds into the old water-bed which you will be walking in until you reach the mill.
Along the way there are more abandoned cars in varying level of disrepair, they paint of picture of the modern history of this mine compared to some of the older ones in the park.
Wall Street Mill
When you reach the mill you will be treated with a relatively well maintained old gold mill that you can get pretty close to, even though it still has a chain to block you from walking in.
The mill is located right near some large rocks where you can boulder up to get different views of the mill and the area around it.
There is a lot of history on the plaques near the mill that will tell you about its use and about life in this desert wasteland.
There is also a lot of loose debris that mars the landscape in varying levels of rust and makes for good pictures.
All in all this is a great hike in Joshua Tree National Park. It is one my favorite mines and one of the more exciting and easy things to see in the park. Add that to the old cars that are a lot of fun to photograph and you have the recipe for a pretty awesome adventure, just make sure to bring a lot of water when it is hot. I would love to hear your comments below.