Experience the beautiful vastness of the desert in Southern California by visiting Joshua Tree National Park. It’s about 2.5 hours east of Los Angeles and about three hours west of Phoenix.
What to do here? Well, if you’re not sure where to start, stop by the visitor’s center so a friendly, knowledgeable park ranger can make some worthwhile suggestions. A day will actually be sufficient time to see a decent amount of sights at the park, including a few hikes if time is allocated wisely. It’s a great place to admire two different desert ecosystems – the Colorado and Mojave deserts – and unique vegetation, including Joshua Trees and Cholla cactuses (there’s a garden for the latter at the park, so be sure to check that out).
Photographers and aficionados alike will also enjoy this park. Be sure to bring a lot of water, especially if you’ll be hiking and most especially if it will be hot. If you get hungry or need more water, Twentynine Palms is located north of the park and offers a few convenience stories and eateries. Also be sure to check out Keys View (a viewpoint) and Barker Dam (a short hike). It’s also nice to stay and watch the sunset, as well as until night time for a light-unpolluted stargazing experience. There’s a park entrance fee of $20 that’s good for seven days, but it’s absolutely worth every dollar!
Located in the heart of Joshua Tree National Park, the Cholla Gardens are one of the main sights. You can find them on the south side of the park, and they include an impressive cluster of cacti of all sizes. A loop about 1 mile gives you the chance to explore this amazing flora and offers a nice journey through this charming environment.
Located in the heart of the famous Joshua Tree National Park, the Jumbo Rocks are, as their name suggests, boulders of a particularly impressive size. They are found grouped in this part of the park, as specific natural conditions have created them. You will be dazzled by their spectacular height, sure to make you feel absolutely tiny!
Located in the heart of the famous Joshua Tree National Park, the Hidden Valley is not to be missed under any circumstances. You'll see huge rock piles, adorned with shimmering color at sunset. Nature Loop is a walk of about an hour through the area, which is charming and enjoyable. It is best to visit Hidden Valley early in the morning or in the evening, when you can most enjoy the play of light and shadow.