If you just need a breather over the weekend Joshua Tree is THE place to head out to if you are in Northern Cali. Just a two and half hour drive from San Diego to the park and infinite points of interests from hikes to antique shopping, you name it! And if you are not much into camping there are some awesome homes on AirBnB, cheap motels, some boutique hotels for those who don’t mind spending some cash and lastly some “glamping” options. To each it’s own people.
Joshua Tree National Park is well known for it’s extensive hiking/biking trails conglomerate as well as some of the best spots to climb or do some bouldering besides of course the incredible nature and cacti gardens throughout the entire park. I have not gotten into the climbing part yet (on my list for 2016, pinky promise) so I can’t give you much info on this but I can tell you it looks pretty awesome and there were more than twenty recommended spots with lines set up to hook yourself up and climb. Let’s pay attention to the “recommended” part, for you risk-takers the whole park is your little climbing oyster. Enjoy!
I have added my route above for you to get an idea of what we were able to check out in two days but everyone goes at their own pace so up to you on which stops you decide to go. Below are some pics that serve as a glimpse of what caught my eye.Below, I have also added information on the different campsites I recommend staying at. Enjoy!
Free dinosaur encounter.. need I say more? There is another section to the park where you do have to pay but it seemed more of a kids section if you ask me. The cool and big guys are going to be near the parking lot.
Now, if you don’t have a reservation for a campsite and trust me when they say it’s full from October to May, it really is FULL! But worry not, some options below.
First thing you want to do is head out to the visitor center so you can get a map of the area which has a clear route of the hiking trails, restrooms, campsites and where to
get some water if needed. You can try to see if any spots opened up here for any one of the campsites and if not they will direct you to the BLM, The Bureau of Land Management,
which basically serves as an emergency camping spot. (Pretty much just a flat sand lot but hey, in case of emergency.) So in my opinion just head out there and you will have a place
to sleep for sure BUT if you can plan a bit ahead, the campsites inside the park are totally worth the prep and money.
Joshua tree is spread out in 1,200 square miles with a West and East Entrance which you can drive over in about two hours. One end is Palm Springs and the other becomes Ocotillo,
Anza Borrego so the vegetation changes from end to the other. Campsites are spread out over the area and are either located in the main hiking/biking trails or the best spots for climbing/bouldering.
My top favorites to check out next time were:
-Barker Dam campground; your campsites becomes more of a cave being that you are surrounded by huge rocks.
-Belle campground; for the best night view of the sky.
-White Tank campground; great for climbers, also surrounded by huge rocks but less hiking trails.
In case of the park being full you can head out to Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground which is about a twenty minute drive from both Yucca Valley and the
Park’s visitor center and spend the night for $20.0 with the cleanest bathrooms, a convenience store and firepits on each site. “Glamping” peeps.
If all that fails head out to BLM to get a free spot at the most amazing barren and flat land you will ever see (sarcastic emoticon here please). Like I said, if ALL else fails.
Follow ling for BLM The Bureau of Land Management
Above, Joshua Tree Lake Campground.
Above, Jumbo Rocks Trail
Above, Cholla Cacti Garden
Above, Arch Trail
Above, Arch Trail
Nature and Trails:
Salton Sea Beach
Cholla Cacti Garden
Arch Rock Trail
Barker Dam Trail
Jumbo Rocks Trail
Indian Cove Trail
Above, Barker Dam Trail
Above, Forty nine palms Oasis.
Shopping or at least some Window Shopping:
The End; BEST store eva! Come here for very “bohemian” one-of-a-kinds
Tamura at Home; rustic interior design
Hoof and the Horn; Brandy Mellville meets a southwester Urban Outfitters kind of shop.
RT 62 Vintage Market Place.
Hoodo; Record and Tshirt store with the best selection of Vinyls and vintage band shirts.
THE GRAND FINALE
We decided to take a different route back home and took a little detour out to Salton Sea which is on the way back to Interstate 111 to head out to
Salvation Mountain and East Jesus. (Yep, Into the Wild Spots)
All pics above, Salvation Mountain.
Pics Above, Salton Beach-Salton Sea