Since this is a working trip and everyone has to put in several hours per day, we plan to do short hikes, starting in the late afternoon and continuing till sunset. That also means we get the cooler evening weather, and the warmer light for photography.
Hidden Valley is completely enclosed by tall boulders, and has its own microclimate which protects pinyon pines and scrub oak. The valley is so hidden that it may have been used by cattle rustlers, before a legitimate rancher Bill Keys blasted a hole into it so he could keep his cattle there. The Hidden Valley nature trail is easy and beautiful. In theory, it is the wrong time of year to see the 'desert in bloom', but there are plenty of more discreet flowers at the moment.