Weekend in Joshua Tree

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

When you arrive to Joshua Tree National Park it feels as though you have traveled to another planet. One of which, I couldn't wait to get out and explore.

To kick off my birthday, we packed up our car and headed to Joshua Tree. We traded in one desert oasis for another.

Hippies, photographers, nature lovers, artists, and tourists flock here for the areas quirky shops, chill vibe, and beautifully unique scenery.

After a hearty breakfast at the Country Kitchen (made famous by Anthony Bourdain), we stopped at the Joshua Tree Visitors Center to grab a park map and get the lay of the land. The entrance fee to the park is $25.00.

Our first stop was the Hidden Valley Loop Trail. We ended up just wandering aimlessly around, climbing the random boulders that were scattered throughout the park. 

Making our way around the park, we passed Cap Rock, Ryan Mountain, and Sheep Pass. Making a few stops to explore on our way to Jumbo Rocks. If there was a theme for the day, it was climbing, and I have the banged up knees to prove it.

Even though the park was crowded, there were so many places where you could pull over (other than the popular stops on the map) and feel like you had the place all to yourself. Which I loved! I'm not one for crowds. 

When the sun was about to set we rushed to Keys View to catch the sunset. Here you will have spine-tingling views of the San Andreas Fault, Mt. San Jacinto, Mt San Gorgonio, and the Salton Sea. 

It was a great last stop to end a perfect day in Joshua Tree National Park. 

If you make your way to Joshua Tree some other great places to visit are: 

Pappy & Harriets: This is a saloon like restaurant where they have amazing blue grass bands. You can stop and eat and then enjoy the show. They have two dinner seating times 5:30pm and 7:30pm (can change so make sure that you double check beforehand) and reservations are highly recommended in advance. 

Cholla Cactus Garden: Although we did not stop here, the guide at the visitors center advised that this is one of the most popular and sought out locations in the park. Since we live close to the Sonoran Desert, where they have an abundance of chollas, (see here) we decided to skip. Word of advice if you visit, make sure that you wear closed toed shoes. They don't call them the jumping cacti for nothing. You are guaranteed to get them stuck on your clothes and shoes, so be aware. 

Pioneertown: An old wild west town with a few shops and is next to Pappy and Harriets. 

Integration Sound Baths: Ok, so this is something that I wish we did but did not have the time. It's basically a dome like building built for deep relaxation where the sound vibrations help mellow you out. Since Jer is so into meditation (true story) this would have been cool to check out. Reservations are recommended as well.