Quail Springs Valley Pumphouse - Joshua Tree National Park

Trek Date: January 30, 2017

When most folks who are familiar with Joshua Tree National Park hear the words, "Quail Springs," they probably think of the picnic area on Park Blvd., and rightly so. It's a great spot to pull over, stretch your legs, have a bite to eat and watch the rock climbers tackle Trashcan Rock, or maybe the nearby Erotic Dome, or the Hound Rocks. 

But the parking area at Quail Springs is also a great spot to stage a hike out into the desert, because the desert holds many secrets, and Quail Springs Valley guards them closely. Have you been to the White Cliffs of Dover? Have you seen the Desert Gold of lost mining camps? Perhaps you've heard of John Samuelson's Rocks? Or the famous Boy Scout Trail? All these and many other amazing secret and some not-so-secret places can be visited in the Quail Springs vicinity.

But this day's objective was to find The Pump House at Quail Springs Flat.

It's out there, somewhere.

If you do wander away from the picnic area at Quail Springs, or from any parking area or trail in the park, please be sure you know how to find your way back. The desert is a big place and it's easy to lose track of where you parked your car if you're not careful.

The Pump House

And the pump does work, bringing up cool, clear water which is then piped to a small water trough in front of the structure. At one time, there were doors on the front and back of the pump house, and the side window had a pane of glass. Whoever drilled the well and built this shed must have known what he was doing.

A belt from a generator undoubtedly was used to turn the wheel, which in turn raised and lowered the pump arm, bringing up the water from below. Evidence of the water being piped quite a distance from the well exists. Perhaps the water was piped to cisterns or tanks near a long forgotten road, providing water to those traversing the miles and miles of hot, dusty and lonesome desert.  Today, it's a remarkable, working remnant of a world that has moved on.

It's amazing what you can find by simply hiking a few hours in the park. Please follow the old adage, "Take only pictures and leave only footprints" if you're lucky enough to find a hidden treasure on one of your hikes. Stop by Murbachi's report on the pump house by clicking HERE.