On The Rocks

California’s Joshua Tree National Park encompasses nearly 800,000 acres, including parts of two deserts; the lower elevation Colorado Desert and the higher Mojave Desert. Reg and I were here about 40 years ago, tent camping with friends Tom and Joan during a blazing hot spring weekend. Neither of us had much memory of the park, so we were up early to reacquaint ourselves and beat the crowds.

In addition to the Joshua trees, the massive rock formations draw crowds to the park.

While the park is large, the most popular sights are located in relatively small areas. We began our day with a short walk along an unmarked path through a spectacular maze of boulders. We turned back before too long, not wanting to lose our way. I’m sort of a chicken about that.

In 1994, Joshua Tree National Monument officially became Joshua Tree National Park, adding 234,000 acres. Much of the park is designated wilderness. There are no facilities beyond vault toilets, so bring a full tank of gas, your water and a picnic lunch.

In addition to Skull Rock, we couldn’t leave the park without visiting Arch Rock and Heart Rock, two more “must see” stops. It was a challenge to snap photos of the three iconic rock formations without the crowds. Even on a Tuesday with the cool weather and gray skies, parking was tight and visitors were scrambling all over the rocks…so don’t expect to have the place to yourself!

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “On The Rocks

  1. Ken

    Debbie and I also have a long history with Joshua Tree NP. Debbie’s brother, Jim, was a ranger there in the early 1960’s and we have a precious family photo of Jim, Debbie and their mother, Mary, taken among the Joshua trees. We have another family photo taken in 1986 when Debbie, our two girls and I took a trip out to Joshua Tree to get an unobstructed view of Halley’s Comet. The Comet is know for its 76 year period, which means it’s a “once in a lifetime observation.” Unfortunately it was a cloudy night, but the girls were only two and four, so who knows they might get another once in a lifetime chance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What great memories. It is nice to see a national park remain relatively undeveloped. Reg and I got up in the middle of the night to meet friends (the same ones we camped with at Joshua Tree) on the beach cliffs of Santa Barbara for our Halley’s Comet viewing. We were lots younger then!


  2. Deborah Gudger

    My brother, Jim, was a park ranger in Joshua Tree in the mid 60’s, so we spent a lot of time there…Will Keys was still living on his ranch then and Jim was a good friend-heard all his old stories. I think the Keys Ranch is now an outdoor museum in the park? The other connection was that Will’s granddaughter lived in North Fork! Spring is starting to hint at its arrival…it might be safe to head home now!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Deborah Gudger

    Haha! I didn’t realize Ken had already told half my story in the comments above!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Chris Glaves

    Very cool Sue and Reg!

    Liked by 1 person

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