Our camping destination for the month of October was Joshua Tree National Park, located in Southern California, just east of Palm Springs. This was the furthest we had to drive for our camping trip so far! Luckily, Clay and I had a couple of our wonderful college friends/awesome camping buddies, Justin and Shira, join us along for the road trip : ) Below is a quick recap of the places visited during our weekend camping in the desert with the Joshua Trees:
1. Hemingway Buttress & Banana Cracks: This was our first stop to get a closer look at some Joshua Trees before heading over to our campsite. This was also when I realized that Joshua Tree was an ideal location for people looking to go rock climbing and bouldering. There were so many rock formations everywhere and it was common to see climbers walking around with their gear & crash pads.
2. Hall of Horrors: Our second stop was another popular rock climbing destination located directly across the road from Saddle Rock (part of Ryan Mountain, also one of the largest single rock formations in the park) and nearby Skull Rock (formation that resembles a skull). Here, we did some climbing around on the East Wall on some friendlier formations.
3. Indian Cove Campgrounds: After making a loop through the park and stopping by the Oasis Visitor Center, we finally arrived at our home for the weekend, campsite #88! The nice thing about this campground was that the sites were pretty spread out from each other. Each site included with a picnic table and fire pit; toilets were interspersed in between sites. The campsites were spread along one main road that was tucked in between towering sand-colored rock formations that were dotted with shrubs and desert plants. It was amazing being surrounded by such a unique and natural landscape - it felt like we were on another planet/in another world! Two of my favorite moments at Indian Cove were (1) climbing around the rock formations that were part of our campsite and (2) leaving our tent rainfly off during the last night so that we could sleep right underneath the stars.
4. Cholla Cactus Garden: In between the Hexie and Pinto Mountains, near the Pinto Basin is the Cholla Cactus Garden (pronounced choy-a). This is also near where the Mojave and Colorado deserts merge. The garden contains a short quarter-mile loop that brings visitors through a small densely populated area filled with cholla cacti. Most of the cholla we saw displayed a range of colors, from dark brown to light green to bright yellow.
5. Barker Dam: A 1.3 mile loop trail that takes visitors through a variety of landscapes to an area that was once used by cowboys to water their cattle. The dam was originally built in a basin by the Barker & Shay Cattle Company. Today it has become a small rain-filled pool, a tiny lake habitat in the desert.
6. Hidden Valley: A 1 mile loop trail that takes visitors through a valley between tall, giant rock formations. This used to be a location where stolen herds of cattle would be concealed! For us, it was a great place to eat a picnic lunch, take an afternoon nap up on the rocks above the valley, and go on a short & leisurely hike.
7. Keys View: A panoramic view of Coachella Valley located on the crest of the Little San Bernardino Mountains. Here, visitors can see the Salton Sea, Santa Rosa Mountains, San Jacinto Peak, Palm Springs, and San Gorgonio Mountain. This location even offers a viewpoint of the San Andreas Fault running through the valley.
8. Jumbo Rocks Campground & Sunset: The last point of interest of the weekend was a quick drive through the Jumbo Rocks Campground. We saw many people reading and relaxing on their camping chairs, which they had perched on top of the rock formations around the site. After that, we got to see one last desert sunset against the landscape of the Joshua Trees! Here's a moment from that below:
Here's a video that Clay made from our trip that weekend!
Just capturing as I go.