Hike Goat Mountain to view the vast Mojave Desert
Trailhead location: 34.29153, -116.3717
Loop Trail Hike: around 3.5 miles out and back
Elevation change: approximately 1000 ft
My husband and I are building a vacation home in Landers, CA, Joshua Tree’s neighbor. We decided to explore the unincorporated city some more and talked to some locals about hiking Goat Mountain. Goat Mountain was a tough trail to find online, it’s not on any hiking sites, so we mapped ourselves to Goat Mountain Road in Landers and followed the GPS to the mountain’s edge (coordinates of trailhead above). When you get to the end of the road, there are a few hard to see signs that point you to the trail, and you basically park at there bottom of the hill close to someone’s private property, a tall chain-linked fence. You can’t see the trailhead, but you can see where the road has been cut into the mountain. Walk up the hill to get to it and then you can easily see where it takes you. We parked at the bottom of the mountain, there isn’t a parking lot or a side road, just a wash of hard-packed sand.
Goat Mountain was mined for gold as early as 1914. There are still places along the trail where you can see the mine shafts, so the cut to the top of the mountain is well marked, but very rocky so watch those ankles! You pass a few old mine shafts along the way, and can even crawl inside one. Be careful because the rock is really loose so it can be dangerous. Most of the shafts have been filled in over time, either for safety or simply rocks falling in.
Once you reach the top, there is an incredible 360 view of the Mojave Desert. Grids of land to the south, and absolute nothingness to the north. What a view!
If you climb a little higher past the plateau and a little off trail you’ll find a sun dial someone created from rocks.
This hike is really beautiful, interesting, and off the beaten path so you will most likely have the trail all to yourself. If you’re visiting Joshua Tree and have been into the park several times, check out this trail instead you won’t be disappointed. Grab a beer at Landers Brew Co. after, a local watering hole with a large selection of brews.