Barrel of Fun

Hike and Wine Taste in Palmdale in Antelope Valley

Put a spring in your step and a barrel in your belly with a visit to Palmdale on the southern edge of the Antelope Valley. Here you’ll find the 2.75-mile out-and-back Barrel Springs Trail and a local winery that shares part of the nomenclature.

Park at the southern Daniel A. Mahoney trailhead just off the Pearblossom Highway (CA-122) to begin your scenic stroll. The hilly ups and downs are a decent workout with over 200 feet of elevation gain that bonuses in constant views of Antelope Valley. To the south see the hulking San Gabriels that separate you from the Los Angeles Basin. A few spur trails lead to hilltops for even more expansive desert views.

The wide dirt path is framed by a wooden fence throughout, which is often crowded by junipers whose sweet scent offsets their rugged appearance. Keep an eye out for Joshua trees. Toward the end of your one-way, reach a postcard-perfect wooden bridge over a stream (often flooded during storms). The turn-around point is at Tejon Park and Equestrian Arena.

BARREL BONUS: Head north to Lancaster to find the wine tasting room for Thief and Barrel, a local spot that brings joy both in the form of good wine and friendly service. Chief Sommelier DiMaggio provides excellent recommendations, but you can’t go wrong with their primary tasting set offering an array of sweet and dry whites, reds, and specialty creations like hibiscus wine—yes, made from the flower!

To get to the eastern Barrel Springs trailhead and lot, take the CA-14 to Palmdale and merge onto the CA-122, heading northeast. After 2.2 miles, turn left onto 25th St. E., followed by an immediate left onto Barrel Springs and the dirt parking lot. Dog-friendly!

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