OverviewEureka Peak is a strenous climb (especially on bike!) in the Covington Flats section of Joshua Tree National Park. The actual peak is the third highest in the park after Quail Mountain and Queen Mountain first and second respectively. However, the other two are closed to biking thus making Eureka the highest accessible on road.
The peak is part of what's known as the Little San Bernardino Mountains, an extension of the much higher San Bernardinos to the west. The range overlooks the Coachella Valley created by the infamous San Andreas Fault 5,000 feet below.
There's no real "parking lot" to this route. You (or your car) can choose how much you bike. If you have the time, you may elect to begin at the park boundary on Covington Flat Road then continue the whole way inside the park on bike.
If that's the case, continue forward keeping right at the intersection with the road to the Nolina Cove area. Past the first turnoff, the road enters into Lower Covington Flat, a large area of flat land situated in between 2 mountains. After a few miles traveling on this expanse, take the next right and head up to Upper Covington Flat where you need to make a final (gentle) right onto Eureka Peak Road. The final section of the road is a bit steep.
The true summit is a no-bike zone and must be reached by foot via a 500' long dirt path. If it's windy, be sure to keep your bike held down by something to keep it from being blown to the ground (and possibly even off the mountain!)
Getting ThereOn California Route 62, turn off on La Contenta Road. Continue for a short while until you reach another road, the Covington Flat Road to the left. Take the road into the park.
When to Bike
The bike can be done year-round though every season has their advantages and disadvantages.
In winter, snow may occasionally fall. The road may be icy near the top. Snow may, ever now and then, reach all the way down to CA Route 62 at 3000' though that typically never happens more than once or twice a year. However, due to the precipitation, air quality is at its purest and the view is at finest with little to no haze in sight.
In spring, thunderstorms may be heard and seen. Lightning may be a danger in the later part of the season. Due to this though, wildflower bloom is at its peak and may add a colorful delight.
The peak may just offer the place to cool off in summer. The peak is up to 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding areas and 25 degrees cooler than the desert valleys below. However, smog may accumulate at this time and the view may not be as good.
Fall is the peak of fire season. Fires may occasionally burn the little grass which is here. However, being fall, you may find the reddish colors appearing off in the distance which makes a great photography moment.
Despite some difficulties, biking the peak should be possible year-round. Preparation is key in doing so. It's always a good idea to get a forecast of the area (check for Yucca Valley then subtract some 10 degrees) to make sure conditions are favorable.