Joshua Tree National Park Has Something for Everyone

February 7, 2014 by

Joshua Tree Park

The Joshua Tree National Park is a popular destination for adventure seekers, explorer types, and visitors just looking for a quiet destination for sightseeing with 12 self-guided nature trails.

Nature Trails

The Park offers 12 different nature trails ranging from quarter mile trails like Cholla Cactus Gardem, Bajada All-Access, or Key View which features views of the San Andreas Fault, Mt. San Jacinto, and more, and go up to 1.3 mile loops on trails like Barker Dam or Hi-view.

Joshua Tree Rock Climbing

Keys View

Keys View is a popular destination located on the crest of the Little San Bernardino Mountains. This wheelchair accessible lookout offers panoramic views of the Coachella Valley.

Those who walk the .2-mile-loop trail will see the Salton Sea which is 230 feet below sea level on the left with the Santa Rosa Mountains on the right. Farther on the right the snow covered peak of San Gorgonio Mountain stands majestically at 11,500 feet.

On a really clear day, there’s a chance you might even see Signal Mountain in Mexico.

Hiking Trails

The Joshua Tree National Park offers an extensive network of hiking trails of varying length and difficulty. Several of the trails are perfect for a day hike at 3 miles with a difficulty levels from moderately strenuous to strenuous.

Those looking for a longer hike can do more than one trail or tackle the 7.2 mile Lost Palms Oasis trail which involves scrambling. Other trails take days to hike. If you plan to be out overnight, you must register at a backcountry registration board.

Joshua Tree Bighorn Sheep

Mountain Biking

Bike riding is restricted to roads open to vehicles in the park. The park’s Backcountry and Wilderness Management Plan has designated almost 30 miles of trails for non-motorized bike use, but new trails cannot be used until Congress gives approval. For now, the park’s backcountry roads provide opportunities to explore.

Camping and Backcountry Camping

The park has nine campgrounds, and backcountry camping is permitted for “peak baggers.” Peak bagging is an activity in which people reach the summit of some collection of peaks. Joshua Tree National Park has ten mountains greater than 5,000 feet in elevation.

Another option for backcountry camping is to hike to all five of the park’s fan palm oases.

This park is also a favorite for birdwatching, rock climbing, and offers a geology motor tour for those who are unable to walk or hike or prefer not to. Whichever activity you choose, be sure to carry water with you to stay hydrated in this desert location.

Photo credits: Michael R Perry, tinyfroglet, “Caveman Chuck”

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