When people think of National Parks located in California, they think about Yosemite or Death Valley. Maybe the Sequoia Park comes to their mind.
But a few people think about Joshua Tree National Park. In fact, you may have never heard about this place. However, there is something I can tell you about this place: I totally understand why it was declared a National Park. Unpopularity is not a synonym of common, ugly or unimpressive in this case. This place is awesome!! I like to see it as land of enchanted rocks with the Joshua Trees as guardians of this magic kingdom.
The park can be done as an easy day trip from Palm Springs. I would recommend spending more time in the park if possible. The park offers excellent services to visitors (helpful information centers, friendly rangers, clean restrooms and good signage). You can drive between the different points of interest. Park your car, go for a short hike, take tons of photos, have a picnic and repeat in the next point. You can do that until you run out of sunlight.
Here are my favorite photos of the park. Hope you enjoy discovering this wild but amazing place.
The park is named after the Joshua tree which is a plant species belonging to the genus Yucca. Mormon settlers gave the plant that name because it reminded them of the Biblical story where Joshua extended his hands up to the sky to pray.
Once I passed the park gates, some Joshua trees gave me a warm welcome.
After a short ride, we arrived to the Hidden Valley area. We hopped out of the car to explore.
I was surprised by the size of the rocks.
Some were humongous!!!
After walking a little bit, we were able to enter the valley floor and observe the beautiful walls of rock.
This area is a paradise for rock climbers. Take a look at the person standing at the top of a rock in the next photo. Don’t want to think how he got there.
We had more close enconters with climbers.
One interesting feature of the park is that you can let your imagination go wild and start to discover figure in the rocks.
The next one looks like a Flinstone’s Hammer (for me).
Can you see the frog in the next photo?
This one looks like a goblin.
A balanced rock. It makes me think about the movie 127 hours (not a good thought I know).
And then you can hike to the famous Skull Rock.
There were other interesting things to notice. Like bursts of color everywhere.
Wildlife running free reminded us that this is truly wild country.
We continued to find cool rocks along the way. This one loos like is going to fall and crush me at any moment.
There is even a dam in the park which wa sused to collect water for animals (before the land was declared a park).
One of my favorite findings was Petroglyphic Rock. Look carefully at the brightly painted figures made by Indians who used to live in the area.
There was even a little cave.
And what better way to end the day than with fantastic views. This area is called Key’s View. You can see the desert and even the Salton Sea in the distance.
Everything in this land was truly spectacular!!
Have you visited Joshua Tree National Park? Let me know in the comments section below.