Joshua Tree – Barker Dam

Joshua Tree - Barker Dam Nature Trail

From Keys View I stayed on the western side of the park and hiked the short 1 mile Barker Dam Nature Trail loop. Overall this hike is quite flat & easy.  Much of the area is covered in sand or bare stone with minimal rock hopping. Although if rocks are your thing, this is a … Read more

Joshua Tree – Keys View

Joshua Tree - Keys View

Drove down to the southwest part of the park for panoramas at Keys View atop the Little San Bernadino Mountains.  An informational sign gives basic info and details how haze/pollution can limit views across the Coachella Valley. Looking southeast from the sign on a clear day you might view the Salton Sea some 20 miles … Read more

Joshua Tree – Skull Rock

Joshua Tree - Skull Rock

Quick stop at a popular attraction called Skull Rock.  Assuming you can find a parking spot on the roadside pullout, access is extremely easy by walking about 100 feet. Why is it called Skull Rock?  Pretty obvious but it looks like a skull. Shocking right? Some trails run through here but I passed to get … Read more

Joshua Tree – Split Rock

Joshua Tree - Split Rock Loop

Lunchtime was over and it was back to the trails.  Right across the street from Live Oak was the popular Split Rock Loop. Split Rock itself can be found right behind the trail head sign. Probably the best info sign I have seen yet, this one carried a simple message: “THIS IS A COOL PLACE … Read more

Joshua Tree – Lunch at Live Oak

Joshua Tree - Lunch at Live Oak picnic area

Stopped briefly for lunch at one of the picnic areas without name on the map.  Looking at the screen cap below of the official NPS map you would never know this one is called Live Oak.  You also wouldn’t know there is a trail leading out to a lone ancient oak tree.  Maps here could … Read more

Joshua Tree – Oasis Visitor Center

Joshua Tree - Oasis Visitor Center

Stopped at the Oasis Visitor Center many times during my stay.  Their parking lot was the nearest place I could get LTE service but also has some cool educational displays. And some more displays & dioramas detailing history of the park, geography, and wildlife.  Two main reasons for this post: first is to drop pins … Read more

Joshua Tree – Fortynine Palms Oasis

Joshua Tree - Fortynine Palms Oasis

For the first major hike today I drove outside the park & back in to the north-central most point at Fortynine Palms Oasis.  Temps were starting to climb but overall today was beautiful and stayed around 80 degrees tops.  Not bad for December, eh? The trail climbs sharply up the mountainsides right from the start.  … Read more

Joshua Tree – Cholla Cactus Garden

Joshua Tree - Cholla Cactus Garden

Today I was on a mission to make the most of my time.  Thankfully last night was freezing cold and winds gusted to 40mph which forced me to sleep in the rental and wake early.  On the positive side I was awake well before sunrise and made my way to the Cholla Cactus Garden for … Read more

Joshua Tree – Stars at Pinto Basin

Joshua Tree - Stars at Pinto Basin

While my first day at Joshua Tree National Park was mostly driving and setting up camp, my first night I spent at Pinto Basin pullout trying to capture the stars.  A park suggested by a ranger at the visitor center because it’s the darkest part of the park.  I spent several hours sitting and waiting … Read more

Joshua Tree – Cap Rock Sunset

Joshua Tree National Park - Cap Rock

December 2018.  Government shutdown looming.  Geminid meteor shower coming.  Vacation days left that need to be used.  Booked some quick tickets into Las Vegas with no firm plans other than seeking adventure.  The universe guided me down to Joshua Tree National Park. Pitched my tent at the Belle campground (which I was lucky to get, … Read more