Eagle Mountain via Munsen Canyon

Joshua Tree National Park, CA


Distance16 mi
Elevation gain4,100 ft
Route typeLoop
Duration7.5 hr
CruxClass 3

Peaks bagged

Mastodon Peak(LPC)3,440 ft / Prom. 120 ft

Eagle Mountain(DPS, Zdon)5,350 ft / Prom. 2,230 ft

LPC. Lower Peaks CommitteeDPS. Desert Peaks SectionZdon. Andy Zdon's Desert Summits


Starting off on Mastodon Mine Loop Trail from Cottonwood Campground.
Signs mark the official trail.
Entering a series of washes.
Looking back as I exit the wash.
Approaching Mastodon Peak.
Mastoson Mine.
The trail passes by an old mine shaft on the left.
Taking a hard-left to an unmaintained trail leading to Mastodon Peak's summit.
Class 2.
Mastodon Peak summit. View west.
View east toward Eagle Mountain.
View south.
Back on Mastodon Mine Loop Trail.
Cool split rock on the right.
Approaching the fork with Lost Palms Oasis Trail.
Lost Palms Oasis Trail. Headed east.
Descending into a wash.
The trial undulates across several arroyos.
End of official trail.
Descending a use trail.
Lost Palms Oasis.
Continuing down the canyon, a dozen or so scattered palms labeled "Victory Palms" on the topo.
Steep descent through massive boulders to the lower reaches of Lost Palm Canyon.
At the bottom of the steep section, looking back up the canyon.
Lower terminus of Munsen Canyon on the left.
Starting up Munsen Canyon.
Summit Springs Palm Oasis.
Passing through the oasis.
Approaching Munsen Oasis.
Looking back at Munsen Oasis.
A goliathan boulder.
Staying high on the right side of the canyon to avoid brush below.
An unnamed oasis.
Veering right into a subsidiary canyon.
The route climbs this gully.
Tricky Class 3 section.
Approaching a second unnamed palm oasis.
The canyon gets very brushy past the palm trees. After 100 yards of heavy bushwhacking, I bailed and traversed the crumbly slopes on the right.
Entering a wide canyon.
Looking back.
At the base of the Class 3 exit chute.
Looking back.
Tricky slabby section.
Above the chute, the terrain opens up.
Following a wash.
Aiming for the saddle center-left.
At the saddle, looking back.
Gaining the ridge to Eagle Mountain.
Eagle Mountain ahead.
Looking back.
Almost at the summit.
Eagle Mountain summit, occupied by a group of friendly Sierra Club hikers.
View east.
View north.
View southwest.
Starting the descent along the northwest ridge.
I followed the group for a while. It was nice to take a break from route finding.
At this plateau, I split off from the group and headed to the saddle visible center-left.
Cool slabby terrain.
Short climb of about 150 feet.
Looking down the terribly steep and loose descent gully. Probably even worse on the ascent.
Looking back up the descent gully.
At the bottom of the gully, looking back.
Starting the long hike through the desert on the way back to the campground.
Some pockets of lush vegetation.
Looking back toward Eagle Mountain.
I gravitated toward a number of small, westward flowing washes.
Eventually, I intersected an old road which took me back to the campground.

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