Hike Rock Spring Loop Trail

Hike Rock Spring Loop Trail

Orange County, California

Hike Rock Spring Loop Trail

The Rock Spring Loop trail is an easy to follow 1.5-mile hike in the Mojave National Preserve. The hike starts in the parking lot, where you walk through a gate, past a sign welcoming visitors to “come on up”, to the historic Rock House. The Rock House is about a tenth of a mile up the trail from the parking lot and is the official start to the Rock Spring Loop trail.

The Rock House was built by World War I veteran, Bert Smith, who suffered from scarred lungs after being exposed to the poisonous gases used during the war. Bert lived in the house and kept a small herd of goats for 25 years (1929-1954). The remains of the goat pen are to the left as you walk up from the parking lot.

The actual trail starts to the right of the house, where there is a sign describing the trail ahead and the history of the area. The trail winds around behind the house, passing the ruins of a miners’ mill used in the 1930s for copper ore. The trail ultimately descends into a small ravine where you’ll find Rock Spring, a natural spring that was home to Camp Rock Spring, a U.S. Army post, from 1866-1868. Depending on the time of year, there may or may not be any water in the spring.

After the spring, the trail begins a gradual climb back towards the Rock House, offering panoramic views of the Mojave Desert and multiple mountain ranges, including the Hackberry Mountains and the New York Mountains. Once back at the Rock House, you can take the trail back to the parking lot or enjoy a picnic at a table beneath a large juniper tree. There is a vault toilet and trash receptical in the parking lot.

Please note that, while the road to the trailhead is generally a smooth dirt road, I’d recommend you take a vehicle with increased ground clearance (Crossover/SUV/Pickup, etc.) as the road can become washed out due to flash flooding.

Pack List

  • Plenty of Water
  • Sturdy, over the ankle boots
  • Sun Screen
  • Hat and Sunglasses
  • Camera
  • Vehicle with extra ground clearance (Crossover/SUV/Pickup Truck, etc.)

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