I was so excited to finally check Joshua Tree National Park off the bucket list on my recent trip to Palm Springs! If you’re ever in the Palm Springs area, Joshua Tree is definitely a must and is a very cool and unique national park.
Josh and I have recently, within the last year, started collecting national park maps with each one we visit after taking a whole road trip through the Southwest and knocking off a bunch of national parks along the way. Joshua Tree was one we missed and we were so excited to visit this time around!
In this blog post, I will be rounding up some of my favorite spots within Joshua Tree National Park and what to see on your day trip to the park. Let’s get started!
Located about 45 minutes away from Palm Springs is Joshua Tree National Park. The park is known for its, you guessed it, Joshua Trees, and I was completely blown away by the amount of Joshua Trees literally everywhere while driving through the park. I had never seen any up close prior to this park visit and seeing them up close and all their details were really cool! It gave me a mix of tree/cactus/pineapple vibes lol.
We entered the park through the West Entrance and made our way through the whole main road of the park until we exited on the complete other end near the Cottonwood Visitor Center (Southeast corner of the park) and drove back to Palm Springs through Coachella, Indio, and Palm Desert.
While I feel like there is no true “iconic” spot in the park, there are so many spots where you can pull over and explore (and take some cool pics), with some of my favorite spots within the park being:
- Hidden Valley
- Wall Street Mill (keep in mind this trail is not marked very well)
- Skull Rock
- Quail Springs
- Arch Rock
- Keys View
- Cholla Cactus Garden
I thought Keys View was super cool because you’re at a high elevation and the view overlooks the entire Coachella Valley, and, on a clear day, can actually see all the way into Mexico! Unfortunately, it was pretty hazy the day we visited so we couldn’t see quite that far but was still very cool!
The Cholla Cactus Garden was also a very cool spot to stop and do a quick little walkthrough. The cactus within the garden were very unique and not a typical cactus you’d see anywhere else (of course, don’t touch!). I’ve heard that the best time to see the Cholla Cactus Garden is at sunrise or sunset because of the way the cactus look at those times of the day. While we visited mid-day, I’d love to go back at some point to see the garden at sunrise or sunset!
We also came back to the park at night to do some stargazing and it was really cool, highly recommend making the drive to see Joshua Tree at night for a little bit, or if you choose to camp there. You can really see so much up in the sky when you’re away from all the city lights!
Know Before You Go
If you’re visiting during the warmer months, I highly recommend packing the following:
- Lots of water (being out in the desert it is so dry and very easy to get dehydrated)
- Layers (for nighttime – the temperature can drop and can actually get pretty chilly once the sun goes down, especially when it’s windy)
I also packed my tripod for our day trip to snap a couple of pics of me and Josh. Since we visited on a weekday, the park was less crowded and I knew I wanted a couple of pics of us, especially if no one else was around to take our picture. The park also left me totally manifesting a couple’s photoshoot there at some point in the future!
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Thanks for reading,