At the convergence of the Colorado and Mojave desserts lies Joshua Tree National Park. Its quiet, surreal beauty will draw you in, and you will find yourself lost in its distinctive landscape. The many hiking trails you’ll find here are an open invitation to roam, wander and experience its rugged terrain. The trails twist and careen around massive boulders, plants and the spiny, prickly looking Joshua trees. The trees were named by a group of Mormon settlers who thought the trees reminded them of the Israeli leader, Joshua with his arms raised to Heaven.
Located in Southern California, not far from Palm Springs, this almost 800,000 acre park has much to offer if you enjoy outdoor activities. There are many hiking trails to discover and rock climbing. At night, you’ll want to lift your eyes to the sky and take in the vast stars above. We visited a few years ago in January, and the weather was perfect, low 70s and clear, brilliant blye skies. Several of the hikes we took include Barker Dam, Hidden Valley, and my favorite, Fortynine Palms. This 3 mile round trip trail takes you to a secluded oasis with a stream. It is a relatively easy hike, but be sure to take plenty of water. The oasis is a gorgeous place to relax.
It was a hot day when we took this hike, and on several occasions, when we caught a glimpse of the oasis in the distance, I was beginning to think it was a mirage.
You will find some Native American petroglyphs along the Barker Dam trail.
Skull Rock is an interesting site to see. As the name indicates, this large rock looks like a skull.
I couldn’t take enough photos of the interesting rock formations and plant life.
Earlier this year, during the government shut down, there was much vandalism and destruction of the Joshua trees. Apparently, this happens on occasion, but the deliquients took advantage of the lack of park rangers during the shut down, and did a tremendous amount of damage. I don’t think they were ever caught, but I do hope that they are haunted by the trees in their dreams. What a completely thuggish thing to do. We have a treasure in our National Parks, and as citizens of this country, we have the responsibility of being good stewards, so be sure to tread lightly and leave no trace of your visit.