Joshua Tree is one of my favorite national parks! To me, it is one of the most unique parks here in the US. It's hard to explain the tranquility and serenity you feel there but it's unmatched. If you are visiting or considering Joshua Tree National Park for a quick trip, here are 5 things you must see.
1. Ryan Mountain TrailFor a challenging hike and one of the best views of the park, hike Ryan Mountain Trail. This hike is 3 miles round trip up steep stone steps. This hike was harder than expected but the panoramic views at the top were well worth it. Take plenty of water and try to do this hike in the early morning. The sunrise at the top is magical!
Image by Marissa Vonn
2. Skull Rock
Skull Rock is a rock that's shaped like a skull with eye pockets that happened due to water erosion. It has a beautiful landscape and is one of the most popular attractions at Joshua Tree. You can either hike Skull Rock which is 1.7 miles or you can just see it from the road. This area is perfect for kids. It's like a rock playground with plenty of rocks to scramble!
3. Cholla Cactus Garden
Ever seen a cactus garden? This garden is absolutely beautiful with cholla cacti everywhere you go. You can hike 0.25 miles roundtrip. This is great for families but be sure not to touch the cacti as it is very sharp and painful.
4. Keys View
Go to Keys View for a birds-eye view of the park. This overlook has breathtaking views where you can see Coachella Valley, San Andreas Fault, Salton Sea, Santa Rosa Mountain, and many more cool landmarks! Keys View is normally packed for sunset as it is a very popular attraction, so I advise catching the sunrise. It is a lot more peaceful and depending on the weather will give you more clear views.
Image by Jacqueline Carlisle
5. Arch RockArch Rock is a 30-foot granite arch. It is a 0.5-mile easy loop and a great place for kids. This is also a great place to see during sunrise or sunset. Depending on the time of year, you can see the sun through the arch.
Joshua Tree has so much to offer. If you're pressed for time these are some things you can see at the park. If you can make your trip longer, I'd say make it at least 3 days. I had a hard time leaving it was that great! Either way, enjoy your trip and hike responsibly. Don't forget to tag #naturehead on your adventures!