Tuesday, December 17, 2013



74485 National Park Dr, 
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
(760) 367-5500

The drive from Arizona to California was a straight shoot on I-10 for almost 3 hours. However, there is nothing to see along the way but open desert. I set the cruse control and passed the time with good old fashion rock n' roll music playing in the car stereo. As you exit I-10 turn right and drive 7 miles to the Cottonwood Visitor Center. There are two more entrances to the park one in Joshua Tree and the other in Twentynie Palms both off of 62. Exhibit hall, shop and theater are located at Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms. While Cottonwood has a small display, and shop. Entrance fees is $15 a car or with a National Park Pass is free. I can't stop talking how good of a deal this National Park Pass has been for us. We would have paid more than the $80 annual fee on all the parks we have been to this year and we still have five months left on the pass. For anyone interested in the National Park pass

I have to tell you up front that you can not see Joshua Tree National Park in one day. We only stayed one day but there is numerous camp grounds for 25' or less RV and tent camping at  first come, first serve. There is no services in the National Park so make sure your gas tank is at least half full and bring your own food and water.  Joshua Tree National Park is a beautiful area that has thousands of acres of barren desert with many different plant life and rock formations dotting its bleak landscape. For the rock climber, hiker or adventurer it holds miles of hiking trails and vertical rock walls to scale with days of adventure to fill up your time. Lot of the hiking trails are not that rough to walk but are sand and rock trails. We wore shoes, but brought our hiking boot just in case. For the trails we took we did not need hiking boots. However, when we returned to the car we had sand in our shoes. For those who can't hike, there are exhibit areas along the main road where you can stop and read the signs and take in the views. We only made four stops to hike trails at Cholla Cactus Garden, White Tank, Key View and Barker Dam. We caped the night off with one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.

Our first stop not that far from the Cottonwood entrance was Cholla Cactus Garden. We opened our cooler to make our lunch and ate in the car looking into the Cholla Cactus Garden. What an amazing view with cactus so close together and as far as the eye can see. The Cholla Cactus are a yellow-green color with pricks all over, look but don't touch. If the cactus is a brown color it's dead, but new cactus grow on top of the dead.

Second we made our way to White Tank to see the Arch Rock. We were surprised to see two coyotes cross the road in front of us. By the time we got the camera out they were gone. The Arch Rock is in White Tank Campground with no parking. We just parked in an empty campsite and made the half mile hick to the Arch. When you turn the corner and see the Arch Rock with its 30 foot across arch resting on top of a pile of rocks it is pretty amazing.We made our way around the path and the wife noticed a formation that looked like something out of a Star Trek movie.

On our way to see the Joshua Trees we came to Skull Rock and made a quick stop. You can see it from the main road. You can walk to it or view it from your car. There is a parking spaces on both side of the street so there is no danger of being in the way of on coming traffic.

After you pass Skull Rock you start to see Joshua Trees everywhere. You can stop along the roadside or see them at any hiking trail parking lot.

Next, we made our way to Key View. The elevation wass over 4,000 feet  and the weather started to get cool and windy. When we arrived the view was breath taking looking down into the valley, but the windy weather made this stop very short. When we opened our car door they just swung open with force we thought the doors would fall off.

Last on our trip (because of the time and sunset at 4:30 pm) we stopped at Barker Dam. Just over 2 miles hike round trip and the trail got confusing as we lost the trail markers over a rock mountain trail. We saw people and made our way to them and followed them the rest of the way around the trail and back to the parking lot. Most of the water to the dam was gone, but you could see the dam and some wildlife in the remain water.

As the sun started to set we pulled over and was just shocked how beautiful the view was. What a way to put the closing touches on a great day.

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