Entering Joshua Tree National Park feels like stepping onto a different planet. The landscape feels other-worldly with the numerous Joshua Trees and boulders sprouting up from the otherwise flat desert. The park is located in the Mojave desert (southern CA)- a high desert, meaning it can reach above 100℉ in the summer while winter nights drop below freezing. Fun tidbit of information: the park’s namesake Joshua trees are not actually trees but a type of Yucca plant and member of the Agave family.
Climbing Big Rocks
On my most recent trip to Joshua Tree I didn’t do a long hike but rather explored some giant rock areas with friends. We loved climbing up and around rocks without a specific plan. We weren’t specifically bouldering but at times it sure felt like it.
Hall of Horrors: My favorite place in the park! It’s a 0.6 mile loop but has more of a choose-your-own-adventure feel. I would describe it as an adult jungle gym rather than a hiking trail. There is a main crevice that you can walk through which might be scary for anyone with claustrophobia.
Skull Rock: Technically this can be a 1.7 mile loop but since Skull Rock is right next to the road we just walked right up to it. There are plenty of rocks to climb on around skull rock which we had fun with.
Lost Palms Oasis Trail: Length (level): 7.2 miles (moderate)
This is a primarily flat trail that leads to an oasis with palm trees. Definitely a trail I would do once but not repeat. The trail can be very sandy so I recommend hiking boots above the ankle and tall socks. You can add on the Mastodon Peak Loop Trail on the way back and see an abandoned mine.
Desert Queen Mine and Eagle Cliff Boulder House: Length (level): 3.4 miles (moderate)
Not just a flat, sandy walk but plenty of variety on this trail. Old mines appear at various points along the trail. At the end is an old house that was built into the rock which still contains remnants from the last owner.