One of my favorite places ever! If you have not had the chance to take a little drive to the desert, I highly recommend Joshua Tree National Park. Joshua tree is open year-round and great to visit during the fall or winter (in my opinion). It can get extremely hot during the summer so wouldn’t recommend trying to hike the trails. Before coming here try to be prepared with food, water, and gas. I always try to make sure I have a full tank of gas because the park is not small. You have to drive to different locations if you are trying to visit more than one place. Give or take the drive to Joshua Tree from LA is around two hours. You will not have phone service once you get there so try to have a first aid kit incase an emergency happens. For more information on entrance fee and the history about the park, click on link Joshua Tree national Park.
I usually make one stop before I get to Joshua Tree. If you haven’t heard of Desert Christ Park, you should google it right now. It’s a sculpture park built-in 1951 by sculptor Frank Antone Martin. It’s the perfect place for a photo shoot and to take some unique photos of religious sculptures. The park is free but you can make donations for the sculptures restoration. So try to make a pit stop here and enjoy before heading to Joshua Tree. Open till 6pm.
So let me list a few of my favorite spots in Joshua Tree that are a must stop.
- Barker Dam
- Keys View
- Hall of Horros
- Skull Rock
- Cholla Cactus Garden
Barker Dam is a 1.5 mile loop trail. Parking is usually hard to find since this is the most popular hike trail. Overall it’s a pretty easy hike where you get to enjoy the sights of stacked boulders and during the spring, desert wildflowers. At the end of the trail, you will find the dam. Have to say the last time I went, there was minimal water and I would expect the dam to be vanished by summer.
Keys View, is the highest viewpoint at Joshua Tree. You will see epic landscape views of the San Bernardino mountains, Coachella valley, San Andrea faults, and even the Salton Sea.
Passing Keys View, and going further into Joshua Tree, you will find my favorite spot to hang out and climb rocks, Hall of Horrors. Although, I don’t know why it’s named that way, but I can guess. The boulders here are narrow and the sunlight doesn’t really hit this spot. There are a lot of shaded areas so kind of gives it a dark look.
Skull Rock, another favorite spot. Come here to trip out on the infamous rock that’s shaped like a skull. Just to let you know, there is a trail leading to the back of skull rock where you will be amazed on what I always call “alien formations”. Looks like a boulder city. Perfect to grab some shade and take pictures of uniquely patterned boulders.
After enjoying the sights of Skull Rock, you can drive further into Joshua Tree maybe approximately 13 miles in to find Cholla Cactus Garden. There is a small trail around the cacti (0.25 mi loop) to enjoy. You will get amazing pictures of the mountain landscape so snap away.
Hope you enjoyed my favorite Joshua Tree spots. Please make time to come visit these areas at least once. You wont regret it.