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  • Writer's pictureWanderlust Mike

Discover the Beauty and Adventure of Joshua Tree National Park in California

We enjoyed a beautiful weekend in the California high desert exploring Joshua Tree National Park, California. Our goal was to witness the best desert bloom our state's seen in over a decade. We definitely weren't disappointed!

joshua tree national park

With record rainfall throughout the state this past Winter, California's been blooming like never before! In addition to dozens of species of wildflowers, we witnessed a gorgeous sunset at Key's View, traversed the extremely thorny Cholla Cactus Garden where the Sonoran and Mojave deserts meet, saw species of cactus we've never seen before while hiking the Split Rock loop trail, and even spotted a roadrunner running across the road (of course).

All of the restaurants between the towns of Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms were very eclectic, but our favorites where we dined included Joshua Tree Saloon and Pie for the People.

We also stopped by Pioneertown, a touristy yet scenic recreation of an old Western ghost town with some great handicraft shops and themed restaurants.

With 9 National Parks, from -278 feet below sea level at Bad Water Basin to over 14,500 feet at Mount Whitney, and spanning almost 800 miles from North to South, California is a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts! With such diversity as Redwoods National Park, which receives over 50 inches of rain each year, to Death Valley which gets less than 2, California has something for everybody. Please come check it out for yourself!

Hiking trails:

Split Rock Loop

(2.5 miles, 360 feet elevation)

The Split Rock Trail in Joshua Tree packs a lot of scenery into a small package and features beautiful wild flowers.

Keys View

(0.2 miles)

Sunsets here are dramatic! It can get windy and cold, so be prepared.

Cholla Cactus Garden

(0.3 miles)

Beautiful cactus garden, but do not touch. The barbed thorns can easily get lodged into your skin.

Keys Ranch

This is a ranger-led tour. It's definitely worth it, as you'll learn how pioneer settlers survived in the desert. More information can be found on the NPS website.


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