This is a great backdoor entrance into the Joshua Tree National Park loved by backcountry hikers. It begins in the community of Indio Hills. You begin by ascending an alluvial fan by way of an old mining road weaving in and out of a mostly hardpan wash for approximately 5-6 miles and about 2000ft through desert brush until you reach the tighter funnel through steep canyon walls. Once into the myriad of fingers connecting to the ascending ridgelines, the steep climb begins up loose desert terrain as the views of the Coachella Valley and Salton Sea begin to reveal themselves below. If you start seeing the famed Joshua Trees, you know you’re close to the top. Keys View is a lookout in the National Park that people drive to from the other side, so when you reach it you may find a crowd wondering where you came from. If you need one, there is a bathroom at Keys View as well. Once you’ve taken in the view stretching from the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa ranges and majestic Salton Sea, hop back on the descending ridge and head back for the finish. This route follows the idea of an "open course". With so many access points up and down the ridges (no designated trail on the ridges) that lead to the top, the main thing is to begin and end at the top of Hotwell Rd and reach Keys View during your trip. Options make it interesting! Either way, it’s steep, loose and fun (especially on the way down).
Keys View Loop Route.kml179.23 KB