Day Trippers: Joshua Tree National Park

Perception can be a powerful thing, especially perception of one’s self. Shaping  everything from what we wear, who we interact with and even where we travel. For example, I’ve always considered myself an indoor* city girl, which meant most of my adventures involved the exploration of larger cities, with an emphasis on indoor activities, but lately that seems to be changing.

#joshuatreeSince I began writing hilarystyle almost two years ago I’ve found myself branching out more than ever before. My desire to see more, experience more, and learn more, not just about the wide world, but about the places closest to me, and the need to share what I’m learning has become a passion. I’m breaking out of my self imposed box and I have this blog to thank for it!

Which leads me to the subject of my current post… An outdoor adventure in nature!

The Joshua Tree National Park

#joshuatreeThe Joshua Tree National Park is located just over two hours from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, and while that might be stretching the limit of a day trip, it’s very doable. More than just the name of an incredibly popular U2 album,  people come from all over the world to enjoy the park’s unique trees and alien like desert terrain. Hiking, camping, rock climbing and stargazing are just some of the activities available within the park.

Having recently purchased a new lens for my camera, my main interest in visiting the park was photography. I was excited to take photos of both the Joshua trees and the night sky, but unfortunately the weather wasn’t on my side and the sky was overcast and grey.

Although conditions weren’t exactly ideal for photography, we made the most of our trip, stopping at three different locations within the park. We took a leisurely nature walk in Hidden Valley, did a bit of “rock climbing” along Park Boulevard, and our final stop was the appropriately named Skull Rock. I really enjoyed our visit to Joshua Tree, which offered something for everyone in our group, even me a self described indoor girl.

Hidden Valley Nature Walk


Park Boulevard


Skull Rock


Bonus Stop: The World’s Biggest Dinosaurs

While researching our drive to Joshua Tree I discovered these wonderful and very large dinosaurs. We just had to stop! The World’s Biggest Dinosaurs, these giant concrete statues, are probably most well known for their appearance in the 80s movie Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. We were delighted to stop and take photos with them, before heading on our way!

Tips & Advice

  • There is no food of any kind for purchase inside Joshua Tree National Park. Trust me there is NO food. Make sure to bring snack and drinks with you.
  • There are no flush toilets in the park.
  • Wear proper shoes, especially if you think you might like to climb up on any of the giant boulders throughout the park. My kids couldn’t stay away from them!
  • Wear layers. Joshua Tree is a desert environment and the temperatures can be quite extreme. The day of our visit it was only a high of 45 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Stop at one of the park’s ranger stations before you enter. The rangers will provide you with a free map as well as directions and advice.
  • The Ranger Station exhibits give a brief but nice overview of the history of the park and the trees.
  • There are many hikes and walks throughout the park. The degree of difficultly varies and there is something for every ability.
  • If you’re interested in Night Sky photography Joshua Tree is one of the few places in the United States where you can see the Milky Way.
  • From the website: Do not rely on GPS directions to navigate to or within Joshua Tree National Park! Vehicle navigation systems sometimes try to route you onto backcountry roads with ruts or soft sand that may be impassable to your vehicle.

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