Rings Loop (dayhike)

Trip Date: 3/16/2014

Location: Mojave National Preserve

Permit/Pass: No fees

Trails: NPS Map 1NPS Map 2

Directions: From Interstate 40 exit Essex Road and drive north 10 miles to the junction with Black Canyon Road. Hole-in-the-Wall is 10 miles north on Black Canyon Road. Turn left at the sign for the Visitor Center and proceed past the center along the gravel road which soon dead-ends at the trailhead.

Trail sequence: Visitor Center road / Rings Loop trail

Type: Loop

Distance: 1.3 miles

Elevation: Min. - 4086', Max. - 4283'


Rating: Easy-Moderate (factors: moderately demanding scrambling, heat)

Synopsis: This is a quick and engaging hike through pretty desert habitat and fantastic rock formations. It's capped by a scramble through a rocky canyon, parts of which must be negotiated by climbing some steep narrow sections with the help of metal rings secured to the rock walls. 


Rings Loop - Mojave National Preserve

Turn by Turn:

   -- After parking, turn and head back down the gravel road toward the Visitor Center (be aware, the park brochure notes that this is a mile trail, but that doesn't include the extra walking you've got to do to connect the trailhead and end).

  -- After passing the center find the eastern end of the Rings Loop trail at the far end of the lot.

  -- Follow the trail as it circles around the hills being careful to watch for the markers, as it's possible to get sidetracked into washes.

  -- After a little over a mile be on the lookout for the trail to turn to the northeast, where it heads into the rings canyon (there are several junctions and washes in this area so be more concerned with where you're going than following a particular trail).

  -- As you head up into the canyon and begin scrambling over the rocks the route becomes fairly self-explanatory, but it is possible to take dead-end sidetracks, so just be calm and continue on to and beyond the rings.

  -- As you leave the rocks the trailhead will be within sight.


Photo Gallery: Flickr

Video: Youtube