Joshua Tree National Park - Artist in Residence Day 24

Iron Door Cave and Pinto Wye Arrastra

Ranger A had some time open today for a hike, so we sought out a couple of the more hidden spots in the park, the Iron Door Cave and Pinto Wye Arrastra.  The Iron Door Cave is deep into the boulder piles behind Hidden Valley.  There are a few little stairs down to an iron door built into a rock pile, with a small room behind it.  Apparently there used to be a latch that locked the door from the outside, unsure what the purpose for that was, or the original use of this cave.

The Pinto Wye Arrastra is one of just a couple wagon wheel arrastras within the NPS.  An arrastra is a primitive tool used to grind and pulverize gold or silver ore.  This one is will preserved, and is on the list of National Historic Sites.  As we wound our way through washes and over ridges to the arrastra, we explored some boulder piles nearby, and discovered a rock shelter someone built at some point.  

We were done with our excursion by early afternoon, I spent the remainder of the day organizing photos, working on blog posts, and beginning the process of packing since I only have a couple days left in the park.

Expanse of Joshua Trees.

Iron Door Cave.

The boulders around Hidden Valley.

We found this, too, not sure of its purpose.

Following a wash to the Pinto Wye Arrastra.

An enormouns clonal ring of yuccas.

Silver cholla in bloom.

Some ruins amidst boulder piles.

A hidden rock shelter.


The Pinto Wye Arrastra.

A pop of color thanks to a couple barrel cactus.

There are several large outcrops of quartz here.

An unsecured mine.