12 January 2014

Exploring and Hiking on Joshua Tree National Park

November 2013

This was the place where I'd wanted to go for a long time and now finally made it, for the very first time though.

To me the place had been legendary for one reason, Gram Parsons. The Country Rock star went there often, to watch UFOs, enjoyed some 'material' famous at his time etc, last time too much though.  Well, my reasons where pure outdoor related, enjoying scenery on a desert based National Park (NP).

Had earlier bought James Kaiser's book about the Joshua Tree NP. He'd described all important information pretty well in his book. National Geographics' waterproof maps found its place, too (sweating in mind, not due to rain).

First impression was that it was a mecca for rock climbing. Over 8000 routes in there. Just wow. When Yosemite gets snow, climbers head to Joshua Tree.

The Joshua Tree NP is located about two hours drive east from Los Angeles in Southern California. Nearest bigger city is perhaps Palm Springs. The NP lies on above 4000ft, in a southern part of Mojave Desert.  The San Andreas Fault goes between the NP and San Jacinto Wilderness.

Late November was a good time for visiting, temperature stayed between 10-20C. It's a very large park, too. There were a few famous places which I wanted to see. Some roads crossed the park, which helped to jump from one place to another.

Had a quick look at the Visitor Center at Joshua Tree town. Usually these places provide a pretty good overview of the place, and it's the last chance of getting some material, equipment and stuff.  There's an entrance fee to NPs in the USA. Having an Annual Card is worth if one visits a few of them around the year.

The NP had a few Camping sites, too. All full of young people, obviously lots of climbers. Very friendly and relaxed atmosphere in all of them.

The first place was the Key View, a peak where opened a grand view towards Coachella Valley and San Jacinto mountains towards west.

The Cap Rock was the next one where to stop. This was The Place. If you've seen the film Grand Theft Parsons, you know why. Short trails were surrounded by a huge rock there.

Continued east to Arch Rock. Nice trails lead through Camping site to the huge rock, formed like an arch.  Circled through trails, took some snapshots.

Next headed back to west to Scull Rock. Went for a longer trail, which circled again through a Camping site and some other massive rock formations. Climbers returned from their daily session back the Camping site. Really friendly people and even they looked exhausted they were ready to go back and teach some basics. Awesome.

Second last stop was at Ryan Mountain. It had a few climbing routes. There was full action in many of them. Perhaps at this point the Joshua Trees, i.e. cactus based trees were best looking.

My last stop was at Barker Dam. Did again a 5km hike on a trail. The small pond had little water. Mainly the rocks around the pond were the ones which attracted people here. Petroglyphs were the second interest.

After rushing few places headed back to a Joshua Tree town. A cool hippie style desert town looked interesting. Had a dinner on Crossroads Cafe, authentic place. Final look at Joshua Tree Inn and headed back to Palm Springs.

I'm really glad I've been able to explore through Joshua Tree NP. Worth every second spent there.

A few snapshots

A Joshua Tree


A typical view, rock climbers on top

Someone had remembered GP at Cap Rock

A route # xxx

Ryan Mountain

Attractive rocks

On a White Tank Camping Site

Strange looking

Arch Rock

On top

Arch Rock

A view

Capturing moments at Scull Rock

Somewhere there between rocks

Erosion and weather eaten rocks

On a trail

Perhaps breaking all composition rules but this is what it looked like

She. In action

The final view

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