After Las Vegas, we were supposed to do a huge tour of California. Unfortunately, we spent WAY too much of our budget in Las Vegas. So, we had to trim the trip a bit. One of the places that made the cut was Joshua Tree National Park.
Leaving Las Vegas, we found ourselves in the deserty Mojave National Preserve which is rather gorgeous in it’s own terrifying, desolateness. Flat, curvy roads take you through sand dunes, mesas, cinder cone volcanoes, and Joshua trees. One of the funniest memories of our trip happened here when, right in the middle of this isolated desert, Calvin realized he needed to poop. What a comedy of errors!
That night, we were able to secure a camping spot at the Joshua Tree Lake Campground for 1 night only. This campground was one of the more interesting on our trip, as it’s home to the Joshua Tree Music Festival. There’s tons of interesting art, and they have an Astronomy ampitheater onsite! Unfortunately, we could only get one night of reservations at the campground, as there was a 5K race that ended at the campground that day.
The following day, we packed up and Chris worked out of the car while Calvin and I went into the Visitor’s Center and began working on his Junior Ranger badge. We picked the Hidden Valley Nature Trail for our family hike. The parking lot is a giant loop, which I think could easily fill up in busier months. We picnicked in our camper in the parking lot. The trail itself is a 1 mile loop with the best of what Joshua Tree National Park has to offer- huge boulders for climbing and tons of Joshua Trees! It was honestly one of the more fun hikes of our trip! We bouldered and watched more experienced climbers go up rock faces. I must’ve taken 100 photos of the interesting “Joshua Trees”, which aren’t actually trees at all, but a species of yucca.
When we got back in the car, we were supposed to head for Skull Rock, one of the “can’t miss” formations in the park. However, after a group vote, we opted to head for our campground in Desert Hot Springs. Once again, this was one of the better choices on our trip. That night, we enjoyed the heated mineral pools at our campground under the stars. Calvin made friends with kids from another fulltime family in the park. This was definitely our favorite campground of our entire trip!