Mojave National Preserve
Barber Peak Loop Trail
While there are a ton of other cool places to visit in the Mojave National Preserve, I’m naming this post after the whole area because to get to “Hole-In-The-Wall” visitor center requires travelling into the center region of the entire preserve, and across the backbone mountain range if you approach from the north, as I did.
I had met a friend in Wild Horse Canyon for a few days of camping and one of those days we decided to do the Barber Peak Loop Trail. I had been excited to see The Rings trail but I can’t even say that qualifies as a hike, so I needed something more. The Barber Peak Loop trail is a six mile loop pieced together from several other trails and roads that eventually circumnavigates the entire Hole in the Wall area. We had done it in the spring and it was pretty cold at night but just warm enough in the daytime.
The loop was nice and easy and Wild Horse Canyon had a quiet beauty, as well as actual wild horses. But there was one hidden danger out there to be aware of: varmints. I don’t know if they were prairie dogs or ground squirrels but one night they climbed up into my engine and tried to make a nest. In doing so they decided to clear out a few pesky cables, which happened to be the spark plug cables for two of my cylinders. That was very very bad and I had to limp all the way back to Utah with just 4 cylinders firing instead of 6, in my 4Runner. It felt horrible too, like i was completely destroying my engine along the way. Top speed was 70, which actually makes a lot of sense. $200 to fix it but thankfully it wasn’t worse than that.
I had no idea there would be petroglyphs along the hike but these are generally impossible to miss unless you take the Banshee Canyon shortcut.