Hike to Wall Street Mine in Joshua Tree National Park

The hike to Wall Street Mill in Joshua Tree National Park is a flat sandy trail to a 1930’s gold ore crushing mill. The mill was built by Bill Keys and is on National Register of Historic Places. It’s the best preserved gold mill in the park. In this blog post, I’ll give you a little history and the info you’ll need to hike this trail.

Tip: There is a great Self-Driving Audio Tour on Get Your Guide for the National Park if you enjoy having a historical background on the gold prospecting and cattle rustling of Joshua Tree’s past.

Hiking Info

  • Trailhead location: 2VH6+6H Twentynine Palms, California

  • Nature Trail: 2 Miles Out & Back

  • Rated: Easy

  • Elevation change: 75 feet

  • There is a parking lot here with free parking

  • Bathrooms at trailhead

  • Dogs are not allowed on this trail

Tip: Make sure you bring good hiking boots, Danner makes some with vibram soles that have great traction for climbing the giant boulders. These Boot Trail 2650 are nice looking and fuctional.

When To Go

The best time of year to visit Joshua Tree National Park is March-May and October-November.
Avoid July & August, too hot to do anything.
The winter months of December - February are cold but still doable if you prefer off season travel.
June and September are on the hotter side, but if you avoid midday hiking you would be okay.

The Hike & the History

Joshua Tree National Park was once a region where miners flocked to find silver and gold.

The trail is well marked with the sign above. Start walking the sandy path lined with Joshua Trees.

On the way you’ll pass an old windmill and a gravestone memorializing Worth Bagley, who was killed by Bill Keys over a property dispute. Keys is a well known character of Joshua Tree National Park History. He was a Russian immigrant who owned a lot of land and several mining businesses during the gold rush era. His legacy lives on in the relics of buildings, mines and vintage cars scattered throughout the boulders and Joshua Trees.

This mill was built in the 30’s to process ore into gold.

During the Depression, the mining regions here experienced a second gold rush. As miners arrived, long-time rancher-miner Bill Keys recognized the need for a gold processing mill. In 1930 he bough the Wall Street Mill site, which had an existing well. Keys gathered the stamp mill and other machinery from area mine and mill sites to assemble his mill. For a fee, he processed ore for small-mine operations. When the gold was removed from the ore, it went back to the miner, to a smelter in Mojave, or to the U.S. Mint in San Francisco. Keys ran the mill on an as-needed basis, last using it in 1966.
— National Park Service

Even though this mill, tracks and shed have been abandoned for decades, they are still in really great shape. The mill was in operation from 1930-1966 and handled massive amounts of ore from the Desert Queen Mine. You can also hike to this mine within Joshua Tree National Park.

You can climb the boulders on the opposite side of the mill to see the building from above. Everything in well in tact and protected as a National Historical Site.

There are also several rusted out vintage cars scattered throughout this hike. This makes the hike especially family friendly. Between the flat trail and the different articles to look at it, it’s really fun for all ages.

Do you know any other great hikes in Joshua Tree National Park we should try? Please leave them in the comments below.


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