Joshua Tree – Lost Horse Mine

Joshua Tree - Trees on Lost Horse Loop

As I completed hikes I was crossing them off my paper map which was now covered in a fair amount of X’s.  The big hike for today was to Lost Horse Mine / Lost Horse Loop trail for a 6.5 mile ass kicking. The trail starts and immediately climbs but has a gentle ascent that … Read more Joshua Tree – Lost Horse Mine

Joshua Tree – Ryan Mountain

Joshua Tree - Views From Atop Ryan Mountain

No time to waste today, weekend crowds would surely be crazy so it’s time to get on the trails ASAP.  First stop is Ryan Mountain, a small peak popular for it’s 360° panoramic views. The trail is about 1.5 miles each way but climbs about 1000 feet in that span.  Most of the trail is … Read more Joshua Tree – Ryan Mountain

Joshua Tree – Belle Sunrise

Joshua Tree - Sunrise from Belle Campground

No star photos last night (overcast skies) but I did catch an awesome sunrise from camp this morning.  Not much else to say – this is what makes my trips worth the effort. After my nutritious breakfast of coffee and Pop Tarts I broke down camp and headed out for some final hiking.  Stay tuned, … Read more Joshua Tree – Belle Sunrise

Joshua Tree – Arch Rock

Joshua Tree - Arch Rock Nature Trail

Still overcast this morning so no sunrise views.  Took a short drive south from the campground to check out the Arch Rock Nature Trail.  Parking at the Twin Tanks backcountry trailhead makes this a short bit longer than signs indicate. The trail first crosses flat desert and is mostly unspectacular.  This section is only about … Read more Joshua Tree – Arch Rock

Joshua Tree – Belle Campground Astrophotography

Joshua Tree - Belle Campground Astrophotography

Skies were looking a little “iffy” tonight so I just chilled at the campgrounds lazily trying for astro photos.  Early on skies were mostly clear.  No galactic core this time of year but it never gets old sitting under dark skies. (Don’t forget to click photos for detailed full-screen views!) Wispy clouds started rolling in from … Read more Joshua Tree – Belle Campground Astrophotography

Joshua Tree – Hidden Valley

Joshua Tree - Hidden Valley

Final stop for the day was a race against sundown to hike the box canyon at Hidden Valley. One of the plaques along the nature trail details how this was once a forest covered in trees and is now relict or restricted to a smaller area than was once found. Not really much to say … Read more Joshua Tree – Hidden Valley

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 – Barker Dam

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 – Keys View

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 – Skull Rock

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 – Split Rock