Joshua Tree in 24 Hours
joshua tree national park | CA
We had 24 hours of freedom so we decided to make an impromptu trip to Joshua Tree. Our late start on the road made for a star filled drive. We HIGHLY suggest not visiting in the summer and saving your visit for Spring or Fall when the temperatures are more mild, but regardless of the season your mind will be blown.
We stayed at Jumbo Rocks which was a life saver. The huge boulder formations provided extra shade in the morning which meant extra shut eye. Once that desert sun hits you the temperatures instantly sky rocket. Also keep in mind the park can be equally beautiful at night if you want to avoid the heat. Go hiking or climbing during a full moon or catch a meteor shower! The options are endless. Click HERE for Moon Calendar.
After packing up camp we headed over to the south end of the park and worked our way back stopping along the way. Our first stop was the Cholla Cactus Garden. This prickly patch of cacti looked like a mini Joshua Tree Park. They have these furry (yet prickly) layers of dark brown, yellow and green with little flowers. The garden is at the edge of a valley and has a stunning view of the vast endless desert. If you're terrified of bees, you might want to sit this one out, they gravitate towards the flowers on the cacti.
On our way back we passed Skull Rock, which is exactly what it sounds like. A massive rock that looks like a skull. Great opportunity for a funny photo opp or simply for the fascination of Mother Nature's creepy art work.
Just beyond you'll pull off onto a well marked side road for Arch Rock. We highly suggest parking as close to the trail head as possible since it is a little hike and it can get VERY hot, but we promise it's worth it. You'll pass through this beautiful boulder playground that has rocks balancing on rocks balancing on rocks. How they got there? How they aren't falling over? You'll expect the Flintstones to pop around the corner. Eventually the trail leads you to a beautiful formation that curves several feet over your head like a petrified rainbow. Unfortunately we didn't find any gold.
On our way out we went for a mini stroll through the Joshua Trees during a perfect golden sunset. You can pull over at any point in the park and you'll be surrounded with a Dr.Seuss like landscape that'll tickle your senses.
*many breaks in an air conditioned car were had*
TIPS + TRICKS:
Keep in mind during the Winter months it gets very cold at night.
Bring double the amount of water you MIGHT think you'll need.
Wear close toed shoes if you go to the Cholla Cactus Garden.
If you plan on camping buy your firewood before you enter the park.
Bring cash for $25 park entrance fee (good for 7 days) and $15 per night campground fee.
Wear sunscreen... lots of sunscreen.