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Joshua Tree National Park

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Camping in Joshua Tree, CA

1 May 2008  
3.0 of 5 bubbles based on 1 vote

A weekend trip to Joshua Tree National Park

  • 1. Joshua Tree National Park
    Joshua Tree National Park, California

    Spend the first day travelling from the Mohave to the Colorado desert along the Pinto Basin Road (Joshua Tree to Cottonwood), stopping at many of the short interpretive trails along the route.

  • 2. Visit to Key Peak

    A 20 minute detour from the main road through the park brings you to one of its highest points. We arrived on a clear day, providing views south to the Salton Sea and beyond to the Mexican border. Very windy, but a short walk following the hiking trail takes you away from the crowds to sit and contemplate view of the valley below, with the cities of Indio and Palm Springs, and the San Andreas fault line.

  • 3. The Pinto Basin
    The Pinto Basin, Joshua Tree National Park, California

  • 4. Cottonwood Visitor Center
    Cottonwood Visitor Center, Joshua Tree National Park, California

    At the end of the Pinto Basin road, we arrived in Cottonwood. Rangers told us about BLM (Bureau of Land Managment) land south of the entrance that people used for camping. We returned here the next day to use the facilities and breakfast on the picnic benches overlooking the desert.

  • 5. Free Camping: BLM Site

    To the north of HWY10, and south of the Cottonwood entrance to the park, we camped for free on BLM land. Hard gravel surfaces, but lots of company (RVs, other tents). Just as comfortable as the sites within the park, and a great backup if all the other sites are full.

  • 6. Forty Nine Palms Hike

    Spend the second day returning north from Cottonwood, and doing some of the longer hikes. A moderately strenuous hike from a car park just to the north of Joshua Tree National Park, taking approximately two hours to cross a hill crest and descend into a canyon populated by palm trees. The forty nine palms provided the only shade on the trip, so bring a hat. Watch for lizards sunbathing on the rocks, and the red cactii dotting the hillside.