Quail Wash Hike to Joshua Tree Southern Rail Road

February 8th, 2017

          Yesterday Scott Connolly led seventeen GOPS (Great Outdoors Palm Springs) members on a midday 6 mile hike through Mojave Desert Land Trust property adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park. The route began at the Quail Wash trail head above Yucca Valley and continued to Yucca Valley’s Joshua Tree Southern Rail Road (JTSRR) Museum destination. The trail, normally filled with sand, was a bit more firm due to the recent rains and that served to make walking easier. Portions of it eventually climbed several hundred feet over ridges and then continued down a dry stream bed. Climbing around several dry waterfalls proved an invigorating challenge but did not deter any from continuing. Clouds above helped protect from the sun’s rays but significant winds were encountered throughout the hike. 

          We arrived at the Museum shortly after pausing for a midday snack. It was not open the day of our visit and no model trains were seen using the tracks. There were no signs or other indications barring visitors so we spent time wandering around the outdoor rail road tracks and grounds.

          The JTSRR Museum is a rail road hobbyist organization created to “establish, maintain, and improve an interpretive historical display of full size and scale exhibits of railroad equipment and associated industrial artifacts”. It’s a membership organization consisting of “demonstration railroads operated on the property … for educational, recreational and interpretive purposes”. JRSRR members and others operate their trains on the museum trackage which includes fully operational 15″ gauge, 7 1/2″ gauge, and G-scale trackage which exists amid the rocks, sagebrush, trees, and cactus in an outdoor desert setting”. The museum also “features several full-sized railroad cars, as well as a railroad station building which houses our Francis Moseley live steam model collection”.

          There’s considerable information about the organization on their website, including days of operation, and in an online description from the Desert Road Trippin’ blog posted in 2015. The links to both follow:

JTSRR Website
JTSRR Museum Description

          More information about the Mojave Desert Land Trust and Quail Wash may be found on their website at the following:

The Mojave Desert Land Trust

          After spending time on the museum grounds we began our return to the Quail Wash trail head. It started out uphill on a dirt road to the top of a ridge where we exited onto a rock and sagebrush scramble down towards the desert floor. Our cross-country route ended on a named street dirt road that eventually led us to the trail head and our parked vehicles.

          All in our group agreed it was a good hike on a pleasant day with an interesting route. It started at our Palm Springs 9:30 am meeting location followed by car-pooling through Morongo and Yucca Valleys to the Quail Wash trail head. The hike ended around 2 pm and  by 3 pm we had returned to Palm Springs and a visit to a local Yogurt Palace.

Bond Shands
February 8, 2017
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