I love road trips, I found this out for the first time last December as I drove with my boyfriend from Colorado through Utah, Arizona, Las Vegas, LA, San Diego and New Mexico. It was one of the most remarkable journeys and ever since I’ve told myself that every opportunity I have to travel I must take. So far, having moved across the pond to the US just a few months ago I have done pretty much exactly that.
A few weeks ago a few girlfriends of mine and I decided to venture up to Joshua Tree for the weekend. I’d been desperate to visit Joshua Tree National Park for quite some time, after hearing incredible things from friends that have been, and was fascinated by the pictures of never-ending desert and huge rock formations. I’m a big over of hiking, and I knew that the trails there were supposedly spectacular.
We booked our trip leaving first thing on Saturday morning and returning Sunday afternoon. Just long enough to explore!
Over the course of the two days we walked the most incredible trails, ate great food and experienced some of the best local spots. In this blog post I am laying out my guide on where to go and what to do.
Where To Stay
Joshua Tree Village:
Our Airbnb was located in Joshua Tree Village, which is where most of the locals reside. Arriving to Joshua Tree village from a long dessert highway there was no ‘ta-da’ moment, as all of sudden the GPS shows we’ve arrived. Cafes and shops lined the highway, with the local Saturday farmers market in full swing. Try to stay in Joshua Tree village or close by for easy access to the National Park as well as food and other amenities.
My favourite Airbnbs:
Where To Eat
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is the reason to be in Joshua Tree. The pass is $25 to drive through the National Park , and the pass will last you over 7 days. There’s an overwhelming amount to see.
Keys View: Joshua Tree’s highest viewpoint. You can park up, just a 3 minute walk away. The panoramic views of the mountains and valley is a must. We stumbled upon it accidentally, and couldn’t believe our luck.
Split Rock: The Split Rock trail we did on the Sunday morning. It’s a truly beautiful, moderate hike. I wouldn’t recommend this hike in mid-day sun, as the area is very exposed and not shaded even a little by the rocks!
Barker Dam: This trail is fairly easy, but magnificently beautiful. Pictured below barker dam is a reservoir constructed in the 1900. The lush greenery surrounding the dam is in stark contrast to the surrounding landscape.
Cholla Cactus Garden: The Cactus Garden is a short walk where you can see hundreds of Teddy Bear Cholla Cactus. Be warned, do not touch or go to close to them, two of my rule-breaking friends got these bad boys attached to their hands and feet. From that experience, and doing a little research I learnt that though they look soft (hence the cute name) these particular cacti, release their joints into your skin and expand. Removing them is mighty painful! The lesson here is, unlike my friends, stay on the clearly marked path!
Arch Rock: This trail is only 0.3miles, so a quick stroll around some beautiful rock formations. The trail starts at campsite 9 and loops around.
Wall Street Mill: The Wall Street Mill was formerly a gold ore crushing mill. There are many mills in Joshua Tree National park, but this as the most famous was the only one we passed.
Before going to the park I downloaded the Hiking Project app and saved all those locations. There’s very poor signal in the park, and Joshua Tree in general so having saved locations was incredibly helpful.
Be prepared, the heat is incredibly dehydrating. A friend of mine had a hydration pack, and all of us carried multiple waters.