Valhalla Dome - 12.25.2021

We parked at the trailhead for Barker Dam in Joshua Tree National Park.
The first half-mile of the hike is fairly flat and will take you to the southern edge of Barker Lake.
After hiking a half-mile we have reached the southern end of Barker Lake... there is currently only two feet of water in the lake, however, that is two feet more water than was in the lake last Christmas!... Valhalla Dome is up there on the right.
Barker Lake... with Barker Dam located in the left foreground.
We are following an obvious path that leads around the east side of Barker Lake... sometimes this path is under water.... and Denali Girl is heading directly for Valhalla Dome in the photo.
The terrain gets a little tight just before we start to scramble upwards.
After hiking a total of .6 miles we have started to scramble up on the steep terrain... Denali Girl has found a narrow ramp in the rock that makes the steps easier.
The narrow ramp runs from the bottom-right in the photo up toward the pinyon pine tree.
Looking back at Barker Lake and Barker Dam as we gain elevation on Valhalla Dome.
Still gaining elevation on steep terrain... but there are reasonably good foot holds.
Almost off of the steep terrain as we continue to gain elevation.
High enough now to see the tiny tree on the horizon in the center of the photo... and that is the summit of Valhalla Dome.
In the distance is the tiny tree at the summit of Valhalla Dome... the steep terrain to get there is over and done with.
Interesting erosion as Denali Girl nears the summit of Valhalla Dome.
After hiking .9 miles Denali Girl took this selfie from the summit (4502') of Valhalla Dome... with the Astro Dome in the distance between us.
Looking west (left) to north (right) from the Valhalla Dome summit... Quail Mountain (the high point in the park at 5816 feet) is in the left center of the photo... with the Astro Dome in the far right foreground.
Looking north (left) to NE (right) from the Valhalla Dome summit... with the Astro Dome in the left foreground and looking across a big section of the 'Wonderland of Rocks' to Queen Mountain on the far right.
Looking SE (left) to SW (right) from the Valhalla Dome summit... with Queen Valley on the left and Lost Horse Valley on the right... the bump in the center of the photo blocks a higher and very popular Ryan Mountain.
A closer look at the Astro Dome (left center) and The Camel (right) from the summit of Valhalla Dome.
Denali Girl and me posing from the Valhalla Dome summit area... with the Astro Dome behind us.
We decided to do a little exploring on our return to the car... more or less tracing our steps back down... and know that there is a lot of room for exploration on Valhalla Dome.
One of many cooridors on Valhalla Dome.
Denali Girl poses next to one of the many bird baths on Valhalla Dome... with the Valhalla Dome summit on the horizon near the tiny tree.
Looking down on Barker Lake and Barker Dam... with Lost Horse Valley in the distance leading out to the Little San Bernardino Mountains on the horizon.
Coming down from our perch that offered a nice look down on the lake and dam.
Just as steep going down as coming up... as we trace our steps back to the car.
Continuing to head down to the lake... we saw more than 100 people at the lake... one of the most popular hikes in the park... but virtually no one comes up to Valhalla Dome... we have been at the dome at least a dozen times and never seen anyone when we were there.
Almost back down to the lake.
After hiking a total of 1.3 miles we have returned to Barker Lake.
Back at the parking lot for Barker Dam... the hike/scramble was a total of 1.8 miles, gaining 302 feet of elevation.