We arrived to Joshua Tree by way of the Grand Canyon, ready for for warmer weather and foreign landscapes. We decided to stay outside the park in one of the two only reservable campsite, and with access to drinking water, we chose Black Rock campground. Upon arrival we learned that drop in camping is only allowed 1 night at a time and reservations had to be made a minimum of 48 hours prior to arrival. Lucky enough an incredibly nice volunteer gave us the rundown on the best camp spots and the sites that had no reservation the following evening. After a short drive around the campground we settled into site 99. As most sites seemed almost on top of each other, site 99 faced East towards the West side of the park and allowed for the most privacy. After setting up camp we settled in to take in the first of two amazing sunsets.
The next morning we set out with much anticipation, excited to get into the park and experience as much as we could in 1 day.
Our first stop was at the short hiking loop of Hidden Valley.
Hidden Valley left us eager to see more. Next up was a short drive to the Key Views parking lot for short .2 mile walk to the top of the view point. From here you will discover the vast panoramic view of the Coachella Valley.
Our longest hike of the day was next on the list and we headed to the Lost Horse Mine Trailhead. This 4 mile hike (there and back) takes you to a dramatically different landscape within Joshua Tree. If more time is available, try taking the 6.7 mile loop which takes you further into the Lost Horse Mining District.
A drive to Cholla Gardens was our next destination. Located in the Colorado Desert portion of the park, the difference in elevation and temperature offers a thriving environment for the Cholla Cactus, Ocotillo and Creosote Bush. It also lends itself to, yet again, another vastly different landscape within Joshua Tree.
Our last stop of the day and most anticipated was the short hiking trail through the Arch Rock area, which can be found within the White Tank Campground. Here the rock formations, along with the stunning Joshua Trees, lend themselves for fantastic sunset vistas.
We visited Joshua Tree for only one day, but it left a profound impression on me and I can not wait to get back.