Exploring Joshua Tree


This is a special guest post from our friends at Expedia.com to bring you the best ways to experience this desert oasis.

It may be winter, but when it comes to exploring Joshua Tree National Park, you can leave your snow gear at home. Even during the wintertime, this desert playground will have you rolling up your sleeves for a hike on the dusty trails or a bouldering session in Hidden Valley. And if you’ve never seen this park’s gigantic rocks that were formed 100 million years ago from cooling magma, then it’s time for an adventure.

To get you inspired for your desert excursion, we at Expedia.com offer this guide to the best of Joshua Tree. Pack your sunscreen and get ready to explore this captivating terrain.

Activities In The Desert

We recently covered Joshua Tree as one of the best outdoor places to visit this winter, but now it’s time to see for yourself why everyone adores this park. For starters, hike Lost Palms Oasis to admire the desert beauty at its finest. This 7-mile trek in the southern portion of the park brings you to a scenic overlook and areas where you can venture into the oasis. The trails are scattered with California fan palms and other native vegetation. It’s a moderate hike, which usually takes around three hours to complete.

For those who like to veer off the path, make your way to Hidden Valley, where you can clamber over the boulders to your heart’s desire. You’ll come across a one-mile loop that surrounds the rock field, so once you’ve had your bouldering fill, explore the trail and look for the signs that explain the local plant and wildlife.

If you’re all about hiking to see coveted views, then you’ll appreciate Inspiration Peak. This short, easy trail leads you to a breathtaking summit, overlooking Coachella Valley and Mount San Jacinto—see if you can spot Mount San Gorgonio, Southern California’s highest point. Bring your camera and your Instagram feed will be the envy of all your friends.

One of the best parts about trekking the wilderness is getting off the grid and capturing nature’s beauty on camera. Make sure you’re prepared with a fully charged battery and light to explore the darker reaches. Bring along a PowerLight Solar Kit to absorb the desert rays to ensure your never without a light or a charge.

Rest and Recharge

When it comes to resting your head after a day filled with adventure, consider staying at Jumbo Rocks Campground, one of the largest sites in the park. This location has 124 first-come, first-served spots that come with picnic tables and fire rings. Best of all, it’s just a short hike from the park’s famous Skull Rock, which is a must-see during your romp.

Another option is to pitch a tent at Hidden Valley Campground. The campground has 44 first-come, first-served sites, so make sure to get in there early in the week to snag a weekend spot. It’s a coveted location, because it’s within easy walking distance of some of the park’s most celebrated rock climbing routes.

Eat Up

While off the grid, we recommend firing up your CampStove and testing out a few of these recipes for foodies on the move. And as you're heading out of town after your long weekend outdoors, get your fix at Pie for the People. The hand-tossed pizza is cooked to perfection and is the ultimate reward. The pies may have New York roots, but the culinary creations are one of a kind with options like the Johnny Popper with a cream cheese base, loaded with jalapeños, and The Cliffhanger piled with bacon, artichokes, and tomatoes.


(Image credit: Kyle Kesterson, Brandon Russell)

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