If you live in or near Southern California, Joshua Tree is a must see. I have now lived in California for almost eighteen years and its taken me a long time to get out there for a visit! Past Palm Springs (another must see place in Southern California), Joshua Tree is located in the town of Twenty Nine Palms.
This national park covers 429,690 acres! Its so big that you need a car to get all the way around and there are so many stops and hiking trails to explore that it would take days to see everything.
According to Wikipedia, nature walks inside the park include:
- Hidden Valley
- Indian Cove
- Cholla Cactus Garden
Longer trails include:
- Boy Scout Hiking and Equestrian Trail
- Contact Mine
- Fortynine Palms Oasis
- Lost Horse Mine
- Lost Palms Oasis
- Ryan Mountain
- Warren Peak
I have visited Joshua Tree twice now and both times have made a point to stop at the Natural Sisters Cafe outside of the park. It’s convenient, offers gluten- free plus organic food, and is open all day. There’s been lines out the door both times I’ve stopped there. Grab a gluten-free muffin for a snack because they are amazing!
Once you pay the fee to the park, you can stay on the paved road and pull over whenever you want to something. I tried to plan out my visit but both times ended up winging it and pulled over when I saw something I needed to photograph. The landscape is like nothing else, you almost feel like you are on another planet at times with the enormous rock formations or the endless sea of cacti!
If you are a camper, there are several campgrounds to accommodate you and I noticed signs along the way of no vacancies so I’m guessing the spots fill up quickly. You can view maps of the park here. And there is information here that will help you plan your trip.
Cholla Cactus Garden
We saw many rock climbers scaling the walls of the rocks, too scary for me. I’ll stay on the ground and take photos.
The Cholla Cactus garden features these as far as the eye can see!
If you decide to visit, don’t forget plenty of water, a first aid kit, sunglasses, a map, plus snacks. Wear closed toe shoes such as running sneakers and bring a sweatshirt as the wind can whip right through you even on a sunny day.