For Barker Dam & Piano Valley
Barker Dam & Piano Valley Loop Trail ♦ 2013 Jan 21 (this page)
2D First. 3D images follow further down the page. Feel free to download as many of the 3D Anaglyph or 3D Half Side-by-Side photographs as you wish. Share them with friends who enjoy seeing 3D photographs. Please understand that the 3D H-SBS images at the bottom of the page should only be saved if you have access to a 3D TV. Otherwise viewing them properly will not be possible.
Additional 2D/3D Barker Dam Area Collections
Echo Rock to Piano Valley ♦ 2013 Sep 11 2D Gallery
2D ♦ Hilltop View of Barker Dam and Piano Valley
2D ♦ View from Valhalla Dome, Sep. 2016
While Lakeside Rock at Barker Dam is well-known to rock-climbers, next to no research or internet coverage exists for its immediate neighbor, an even larger granite dome that thrusts itself up east of the dam. Retired rock climber, noted author and Native American habitat-site researcher, Robert Miramontes, is the person who named this dome “Valhalla” so far as I can tell. See his “Joshua Tree National Park: The Insider’s Guide” at the Park’s Visitor Center book store.
Elliot Koeppel and I rendezvoused with Robert on a summer’s afternoon in September, 2016. I climbed partway up the side of Valhalla Dome where I took the above photographs. Elliot and Robert ascended to the top. You can read about Elliot’s discoveries up there and view his magnificent photographs by clicking on this LINK which opens a new window in your browser.
2D Summer Oasis, 2013
2D Winter Reflections, 2017
Link to 2D/3D Galleries: HERE
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3D Anaglyph Galleries
Bird’s Eye View of Barker Dam Area & Piano Valley
Parking Lot with Piano Valley beyond. The picture was shot from a nearby hill. The long rock at this end of the valley is “Piano Rock”. At the far left, a flat-topped white formation called “Snickers” rock. In the center, “Big Hunk,” while beside it on its left, rises the smaller “Little Hunk” climbing rock. Click to Enlarge.
TREK DATES are as described in the links above. Barker Dam is one of the more popular tourist attractions in Joshua Tree National Park. There are two approaches to it: (1) from Barker Dam Parking Lot as described in Patty Furbish’s “On Foot in Joshua Tree National Park” book, page 30. Distance: 1 mile loop. The there-and-back ½-mile can be lengthened to 1 mile to include the lovely Nature Walk through rock-encircled Piano Valley, which has a well-marked trail. And (2) from Echo Rock gravel parking lot (known by the rock climbers as Echo Tee) between Barker Dam and Hidden Valley Campground.
On my September 11th visit, I took the second route which also has an easy trail. This one approaches Barker dam and Piano Valley from the West. The path snakes along the eastern side of Echo Rock. There, you will find picture-taking opportunities for a number of oddly named rock climbs in this area of the Park, such as “Little Rock Candy Mountain,” “Mounds,” “Snickers,” “Big Hunk” and “Little Hunk,” “Rockwork Rock,” and finally, “Piano Rock” from which Piano Valley gets its name. I took both approaches doing Piano Valley and Barker Dam in 2013/2014. (See the 2013 Sep 11 galleries via Echo Rock.)
For much of the year, the dam is dry. Do not be disappointed when you find it so. Barker Dam is in the high Mojave Desert with an elevation of about 4200 to 4400ft above sea level. It combines true desert climate with a pinyon pine, juniper, and scrub oak “open forest” environment. Winter rains and summer thundershowers do, however, fill Barker Dam repeatedly, either partially or to the brim. (A small pinyon pine tree pictured at right.)
Since the years 2012 and 2013 had dry winters, and only moderately wet summer monsoons in Joshua Tree, the only times I have photographed Barker Dam with any water in it were in the late-summer and early fall of 2013, and again after a single large rainstorm in March 2014. Each time, the pool inside the dam was about one-quarter to one-third full. This did, however, create a beautiful green oasis garden of lush yellow-green grass and gangly willow trees. The trees form a colorful arboreal necklace around the pond.
On a still day in the summer of 2013, I was able to photograph in 3D the rocks reflecting into the smooth water. There are opportunities galore for the inspired 3D photographer at Barker Dam. (See the September 2013 “Barker Dam Oasis” Galleries linked to above.)
Droopy in Piano Valley
2013: January Winter vs. September Post-Monsoon
(Click to Enlarge)
Parking Lot with “Hunk Rock” above “Indian Wave Boulders”
Somewhere within the “Indian Wave Boulders” at Barker Dam can be found The Red Lady of Joshua Tree. Read about her in E!’s article by activating her link.
On this first visit to Barker Dam in January 2013, your site host accompanied E!—who was doing duty as Tour Guide. My friend emcees the Calif49 website. Although his SD camera’s memory card failed on this trip—much to his chagrin when he tried to retrieve the photographs from it—and he lost all data described on this page, he did return to Barker Dam-Piano Valley Nature trail on several occasions to gather pictures the informative Barker Dam & Piano Valley post HERE.)
Barker Dam Entrance & Approach
Dam & Reservoir
What a difference eight months can make! In January 2013, Piano Valley had been under a long drought, the vegetation parched. Yet all over Joshua Tree National Park, including in Piano, deep within the soil lies renewal. I show two 3D comparisons taken at close to the same spot immediately as you leave Barker Dam looking West. The second is eight months later, September, following more than a month of nourishing monsoon rains from the Gulf of Mexico. These summer storms and flash floods blanket the Desert Southwest whenever prevailing pressure gradients direct the flow in that direction.
See the Echo Rock to Piano Valley page covering my 2013 Sep. hike.
“Big Hunk” Rock, January 2013 vs. September 2013
3D Anaglyph Slideshow Piano Valley Selections
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3D Half Side-by-Side Gallery
(Download these and view on a 3D TV. 3D-enabled televisions have settings for “3D Half Side-by-Side” projection. They require the set manufacturer’s special 3D glasses to view. Do NOT use your red-cyan Anaglyph glasses.)
This ends the first Barker Dam & Piano Valley trip. Click on the links at the top of the page for other trips, including the Barker Dam Oasis ones, which I hope you will find highly enjoyable. Thank you!
Posted 2014 Oct 14
Updated 2017 Feb 28