22 May 2017

One Day in Joshua Tree National Park

I am so glad we went to Joshua Tree while visiting LA/Anaheim. At first we weren't sure, because the drive was a bit far, but even 5 minutes into our visit, I would have said that the drive was completely worth it. Because, with the mountain scenery along the way, the drive is actually really awesome. We were pretty tired during our stay in California, and after 14 hours in the Disney parks the day before, I thought I'd nap in the car on the way, but I couldn't, because looking out the windows was too much fun.

It cost $25 for a day-entry for our car, and our first stop was Hidden Valley. Which feels very hidden indeed. Once you're inside, if you get off the trail, I feel like it would be very easy to get turned around--the trail is very natural, not obvious for most parts of the walk, which is very nice because it blends into the landscape, but also means you probably should pay attention if you want to make it back to your car without too many detours and turn-arounds. There were a few people in this part of the park, but much of the time on the trail, there were no other humans in view. It was an amazing first excursion into the desert, and before we were done with the trail, I told Angel that I had added Hidden Valley Trail at Joshua Tree to my bucket list--and would recommend it to be added to any list for people who like trails

(That's apparently my response to deserts)

We then went to the trail that leads to Barker's Dam, where we got to see a pool of water in the desert! And read a bit about the history of who created the dam. This was another short trail. We eventually decided that the theme of this day was all about short trails--we stopped lots of times, but didn't do any major hikes, just one mile trails.

After that, we went up to the Keys Lookout Point to check out the view--which was well worth checking out!

We then went in search of Arch Rock--we'd learned it was at the White Tanks campground stop, but Arch Rock itself isn't noted on the park map--the ranger at the gate said it was because there's not much day parking available so they don't want to encourage too many people stopping by who aren't staying in the campground. We did get a spot in the very small parking area, and began wandering in search of the Arch. It actually took us a while to find the right direction, because the campground was rather deserted--we eventually figured out which way to go by watching other people who were coming back from their visit to Arch Rock. When we got there, the area was completely deserted. Sitting under the Arch, I could just imagine how amazing it might be to camp there, and wake up early in the morning to sit under the Arch and read the Bible as morning turned into day. It was such a peaceful place--all I could hear was the wind...and Angel's comments as he climbed on the surrounding rocks.

We then drove down to the Cholla Cactus Garden, where I walked very cautiously because I did not want to tempt the "jumping cactus." I also learned that cholla  is pronounced choy-ya. Important info.

We got distracted by a red cactus that Angel spotted from the car and had to go in search of. In the video you can see how far we walked just to go look at a red cactus. Granted...most cacti are not red, at least, as far as I can tell from my first foray into the desert.

Our last stop in the park was Jumbo Rocks Campground...where the rocks were certainly worthy of their name! This was where we did the most rock climbing.

Here's some video from our day in Joshua Tree National Park. It was so fun--I think this is only the 2nd national park that we've been to together--how cool to experience the natural beauty of our country in this way! At the beginning, it's more scenic and "artistic" with weird music, but towards the end of the video I get rid of the music and you get to see us being our awkward selves and attempting some "shortcuts" that involve a bit of rock climbing.

Have you been to Joshua Tree? Are you putting it on your to-do list now?
Bekah Loves Blog said...

wow - it looks gorgeous! there are some mean cacti species out there...jumping? my friend moved to florida and had an encounter with some sort of "spitting" one. eesh. Still looks well worth the trip :)

San said...

Wow! Great photos. I love all National Parks, but I haven't been to Joshua Tree. It's on my bucket list.

Rach said...

WOW! What an amazing place!! Definitely need to add this to our must-see locations. That arch is so cool!

As a side note... it may just be on my end, but I'm not seeing a video (or a link to one) here. I love travel videos so I'd love to see yours! :)

Suzanne said...

Next time I'm in that area I'm going to make an effort to hike some of this park. It looked amazing!


Farrah said...

I've never been to Joshua Tree National Park, but it definitely looks like an awesome place to visit someday! *_*

Jenny Evans said...

Jumping cactus? What even is the desert? So weird.